On August 14 2013, Jozy Altidore scored his second career hat trick with the US national team against Bosnia to power the US to a 4-3 victory over the 13th ranked nation. He became the first USA player to score a goal in five straight games. The newly acquired Sunderland striker, Josmer Volmy “Jozy” Altidore sat down with HaitiTempo for an in depth interview.
In the exclusive interview, Jozy talks about his recent hot scoring streak for the USMNT, his new club, his foundation and more.
HT: Jozy, you scored a hat trick against Bosnia and netted at least one goal in your last five games with the US national team, what does all this mean to you?
Altidore: Obviously, when you score a goal in any kind of match, it’s a great feeling. However, the most important thing to me has been the fact we have won all those matches, with three of them being World Cup qualifiers.
HT: What is it like for you as a striker to play for Jürgen Klinsmann who is considered as one of the best strikers to play the game?
Altidore: I think it has been a great opportunity playing for him and learning from one of best strikers in the history of the sport. He pushes us individually and as a collective group, and has us focused every time we step of the field. It’s been a very positive experience.
HT: You recently transferred from AZ Alkmaar (where you scored 31 goals in 40 matches last year) to Sunderland in the EPL, what prompted you to make that decision?
Altidore: I just felt that if I was going to move, Sunderland was the place I needed to be at. It was a perfect fit for me. The whole transition going from AZ Alkmaar to Sunderland was smooth and occurred with ease. This was just a perfect situation and a tremendous opportunity for me.
HT: How is your relationship so far with the players, coaching staff and fans at Sunderland?
Altidore: Everything has been great since I arrived at Sunderland. Paolo Di Canio is an excellent coach and has gotten us ready for a successful Barclays Premier League campaign. I quickly developed a good relationship with my teammates and the entire Sunderland organization is first class all the way.
HT: What are your goals and expectations for the season?
Altidore: I just want to continue to approve as a player and help the team achieve success any way I can. I am excited for the season to get rolling and look forward to the challenges ahead.
HT: You are involved in a lot of charitable work with your foundation, can you tell us about the Jozy Altidore Foundation?
Altidore: The foundation was started in 2011″ with the mission being to help underprivileged/at-risk children across the world through various projects and programs. The foundation fosters educational/recreational learning and excellence by working with communities, athletes and educators to provide children with various avenues of growth and success beneficial for their future.
HT: Your foundation partnered with other entities to help kids at an orphanage in Haiti and the foundation is also planning to build a water well in the Cabaret area, can tell us more about these projects?
Altidore: My foundation teamed up with a group of student athletes from the University of Pittsburgh, along with adidas and the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer, to help an orphanage in need. I was extremely impressed by the Pitt athletes spending time in Haiti helping these children, so we were more than happy to help get them what they needed like soccer balls, shirts, socks, jerseys, etc … Hopefully, we do more events like this in the very near future.
In regard to the well project, my foundation worked with Generosity Water to set up the project, then we raised the $6,000 through our social-media platforms via donations, which mainly came from the fans and supporters. It was truly amazing to see everyone rally around this project and I can’t wait to see the finished product during a visit to Haiti some time next year.
HT: During the last Gold Cup you tweeted about Haiti and showed your support for the team, did you watch their matches? If yes, were you impressed by any player from the Haitian national team?
Altidore: Yes, I got to see bits and pieces of the matches and was happy to see how competitive Haiti has become. The country has improved leaps and bounds on the field. Hopefully, Haiti will continue to get better and move forward on the international stage.
HT: What advice can you offer to kids in Haiti and throughout the world who aspires to be like you one day?
Altidore: I would just keep telling them to work hard and never give up on their dreams as athletes. If you put in the time and effort on a consistent basis, take care of your body, stay away from the bad things out there in the world and maintain focus, everything you dream of happening can become reality.
The 23 years old Altidore is the son of Haitian parents, the record holder for most goals (all competitions) in a single season by an American in a European league. He made his professional debut in 2006 at the age of 16 with the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer. On 5 July 2013, he signed a 4 year contract with English Premier League club Sunderland.
Benson Petit-Clair for Haititempo.com