Thursday, August 9, 2007

Jozy and the Eurocrats: Big Clubs and Fat Contracts

Freddy Adu's inevitable foray into European futbol has pushed Red Bull striker Jozy Altidore to the top of the He's Leaving For Europe List. Soccer by Ives, as usual, gets the straight dope directly from the 17-year-old out of Livingston, New Jersey.

"There was a time when I said to myself that I'm not going to go there [Europe] until I'm 21, when I'm more mature and able to take care of myself and live a life like that. But then again I thought about the soccer aspect. The quicker you can get there the better. Even if it starts off tough you can always adjust to it, especially if it's a team that needs you. It's all about timing."

Regarding timing, Altidore becomes legal when the clock strikes midnight on Nov. 6, just as Major League Soccer shuts down and European clubs start scouring the globe for elusive goal-scoring saviors who can answer their prayers via the winter transfer window. Merry Christmas, Ajax fans, here's Jozy! P.S. Check out Paul Gardner's complete review of the Under-18 European Eligibility Kabuki Dance (hat tip to du Nord).

Of course, none of this comes as a surprise to the tens of Red Bull Rising readers, who remember this from way back on April 23, 2007.

"Jozy Altidore's combination of strength and skill is something to behold ... The kid's only 17, and still learning, but when he figures out how to battle ... rough treatment without resorting to histrionics ... he will be one of the most feared strikers in the league. Sadly, here's a prediction: Catch him now while you can, folks. This will be Jozy's last year with the Red Bull and MLS. A player with this much upside and youth is heading abroad for Big Money."

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