Jozy Altidore – A Dramatic Blast
After spending most of the 2006 season at the US U-17 residency camp in Bradenton, Florida, Altidore joined the Red Bulls and on 16 September 2006, in only his second MLS appearance, he replaced the injured John Wolyniec in the 74′h minute of a match against Columbus Crew with the game tied at 0-0 and promptly fired home a dramatic, 30-yard blast for the only goal in a much-needed 1-0 victory. At 16 years and 314 days, Altidore was the fourth youngest player to score in MLS. He ended up being one of the main reasons why the Red Bulls reached the playoffs, scoring the club’s solitary goal in the MLS Cup tournament.
“I’ve learned that if you’re good enough, I guess you’re old enough,” he says. “Age doesn’t really matter. You’ve just got to be a good football player.”
In between call-ups to the U-20 team, injuries and allowances to attend his senior high school prom, Altidore’s playing time has been limited, but by 28 September 2007, he had still found the back of the net eight times in 1,104 minutes.
Before he was sidelined with a groin injury in August, Altidore was coming into his own. His MLS highpoint was scoring four goals in two games over eight days in August, which did not go unnoticed by England international and Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham after the Red Bulls’ wild 5-4 win over his club.
“He is a great player,” Beckham said. “They have a few good players that we knew about before the game and it was all about stopping them. We did it to a certain extent but good players will always get chances. When he got his chances, he took them.”