TORONTO – Jozy Altidore’s return to Major League Soccer is another big splash for Toronto FC, and it came about with an assist from a man who knows Altidore well: TFC midfield general Michael Bradley.
Altidore and Bradley have played together for the US national team from the youth levels all the way to the senior team. Both were drafted by New York, missing each other by a season, before making a switch to European clubs. They returned to Toronto in the prime of their careers with one goal in mind: building a winning team. Bradley wholeheartedly embraced that mission and convinced Altidore to do the same.
“Michael’s an honest guy, he’s always been honest with me and he told me from the start, ‘Jozy, you will quickly see that this place, they have the same desire as we do, to get better and to make a statement,” Altidore said. “This is the perfect place to do it. There’s no better place to do it.”
Bradley played an important role in bringing Altidore to Toronto but his scouting may have started all the way back in July during the FIFA World Cup. In this ESPN video, Bradley is caught recruiting Altidore to Toronto. That recruiting mission turned out to be successful.
“We first talked about it when he joined here, and it was a joke a bit, but we kept in contact and kept talking about it,” Altidore said. “I’m so happy that somebody like him is at this organization because I know right away that the mentality will be wanting to build a winner."
TFC head coach Greg Vanney heralded the connection between the two as well, saying it brings a level of certainty to the team.
“We want our DPs to want to be here and to be connected to each other so we can build around them,” Vanney said. “We get that with Jozy and Michael. They have a relationship that is second to none as we’ve seen through this process and getting Jozy here. Having those two connected together with the addition of Gilberto, we’re getting to the point where our three best players are our three best players and compliment one other so we can build around those three best players.”
- Get the latest Reds headlines from TorontoFC.ca
The two are important members of the US national team but in a bit of a twist of fate, now find themselves further north than New York, two US internationals plying their trade in Canada.
“Yeah, Canada! Who would have thought?” Altidore said, smiling. “You never know how these things will go in life and that’s the thing about life; you never know what you’re going to get the next day. I’m excited to be here, to be here with Michael because he’s a winner, he always wants to improve and we share those values. Hopefully together we can bring this team to another level and build something the fans will be proud of.”