Does MLS lack villains? Jozy Altidore thinks so.
The Toronto FC star, speaking to SI's Grant Wahl, seems to have embraced that label on a certain level, as he and teammate Michael Bradley have been booed at stops around the league after the US national team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
“I’m a villain in my own country, and I accept it, it’s fine,” he says in the interview.
Altidore hasn't been afraid to mix it up with opposing fans, memorably giving fans of TFC's Canadian rivals – Montreal and Vancouver – the business after scoring on them over the years.
But while there have been a handful of colorful characters in MLS history who have embraced the villain role, Altidore believes there needs to be more, even if it doesn't fit the mold at present.
“Is the league ready for it? Is the soccer community ready for it?” he says. “I’m not so sure, because soccer in our country is not geared toward that type of personality. Not right now. Maybe eventually. But everybody’s got to be clean-cut and be generic and boring. We’re making some advances, but we’re not there yet.
“We don’t have no Jimmy Butlers in soccer,” referring to the outspoken NBA star. “They’d be blackballed, and nobody would pick them up ever again.”
Altidore also talks about his status on the USMNT moving forward, and his options for the future with this being the final year of his contract with Toronto FC, in the interview on SI.com.