American soccer star Jozy Altidore left the United States in 2008, at the age of 19, ready to be the next attacking player to leave the US for Europe and prove himself as a top level soccer player. Like Brian McBride or Clint Dempsey before him, he hoped to establish himself in one of Europe’s top five leagues, the highest level of soccer. He began in Spain where he struggled at Villarreal and was sent on multiple loans including spells in England with Hull City and Turkey with Bursaspor never quite settling. It was clear he needed to leave Spain.
It was a move to Holland and AZ that seemed to kick-start the young American’s career as he showed the best form of his career bagging 39 goals in just 67 appearances with his second season tally of 23 goals in 33 matches making him a hot commodity in European soccer. He even helped the side to the Dutch Cup title and became a cult hero at the club. This got clubs from the top leagues interested and saw Premier League team Sunderland break the bank to get the American in. They paid about USD$13 million to secure the Altidore who had just broken the record for most goals by an American in a single European season.
It was a little bit of a gamble for Sunderland to bring him in. Some players like Ruud Van Nistelrooy had come from Holland and shone while others like Afonso Alves had fallen flat on their faces. Unfortunately for both Sunderland and Altidore, the American was more of an Afonso than a Ruud, he only managed a single goal in 42 league games. If you are feeling a little luckier than Sunderland you need to see these Canadian casinos online where you can play all manner of games. Altidore also gambled in Canada by deciding to return to MLS and revive his career in Toronto, he was determined to revive his fragile reputation.
This time his luck was in, he might not have performed the magic he did in Holland but still scored regularly for Toronto FC and helped them to gradually transform from a side that was a bit of a laughing stock, to the best team in MLS. In his first year back, 2015 he bagged 13 goals in 25 games as they were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. Last year they came agonisingly close to winning their (and Canada’s) first MLS Cup as they lost in the final to Seattle on penalty kicks.
This year though both Toronto and Jozy managed to put their demons behind them to dominate the league, first winning the Supporters Shield and then the MLS Cup as they avenged last year’s defeat to Seattle beating them 2-0 and bringing the cup back. Altidore scored the goal in the second leg of the playoff semi-finals to get them into the MLS Cup final then bagged the opener in the final against Seattle. To cap it off he was the MVP in the final and has now cemented his place as an adopted legend in Canadian sports.