Josmer Altidore Interview
Since making his professional soccer debut in August, teen soccer star Jozy Altidore has scored three goals in seven games and become a fan favorite for the New York Red Bulls. He talked to Kidzworld about the MLS playoffs, his first goal and his Haitian heritage.
Simon: So, what was it like playing your first professional soccer game earlier this was year? Jozy Altidore: It was breathtaking, man. To be able to be doing what you love, which for me is playing pro soccer, is really nice. I'm still in awe of what I'm doing now.
Simon: Do you learn a lot from playing with a star like Amado Guevara, who's been a league MVP?
Jozy Altidore: Oh yeah, man. That's been nothing but a plus. He's so good with the ball and never makes mistakes out there. He's been really helpful and you can only become a better player by playing with someone like him.
Simon: You left home when you were just 14 to train at the Adidas Elite Soccer Program in Florida. How was that?
Jozy Altidore: It was a really good program and it does a lot to help young prospects train. It was set up so that we'd go to school in the morning or do weightlifting and then we'd do soccer training in the afternoon. It was hard at first because I was young - I was 14 - and I kind of missed my mom. But you get used to it and get comfortable after a while.
Simon: Do you like living in New York City now?
Jozy Altidore: Oh yeah, I love living in the city. I love the big lights. It's a great city. When I first came here, I went out with some guys from the team and I was just like, 'Wow'. I love the shopping here - that's probably my favorite thing to do.
Simon: The other big teen star in Major League Soccer is Freddy Adu. Do you have any rivalry going with him?
Jozy Altidore: I don't see it as a rivalry. It's more like two good prospects hopefully working together at some point in a partnership to help the United States win a World Cup. If things go along right, we'll hopefully be playing together at the next World Cup.
Simon: Who's your favorite soccer player?
Jozy Altidore: It's always been Thierry Henry of Arsenal. He does so many things with the ball and is just a great player.
Simon: Do have any other athletes or role models you look up to?
Jozy Altidore: My parents for sure. When I was growing up, they worked so much and sacrificed a lot for me. I didn't see my mom much for like three or four years because she was always working to help us out. She and my dad worked really hard and I really look up to them.
Simon: Your parents came to the United States from Haiti. Have you ever been there and what's it like?
Jozy Altidore: I've been back there three or four times with my parents and it's a very nice country. I think sometimes people get the wrong idea about Haiti because they see all the corruption and stuff on the news. But other than the corruption, Haiti is beautiful and the people are really nice.
Simon: What are your soccer goals for the future?
Jozy Altidore: I think every young player aspires to play in Europe. I'm happy with how things are going now in New York - but to play soccer in Europe one day is a goal for sure.