Friday Lunch: Consistency Key to Jozy’s Move

Posted: July 15, 2011 in professional sports, soccer, sports, usmnt, yanks abroad
Tags: , , , , ,

By Evan Ream

According to various reports, Jozy Altidore has agreed to terms with Dutch powerhouse AZ Alkmaar. Though his agent Lyle Yorks says the deal isn’t finalized, the rest is probably just a formality. Jozy has been on the move a lot in the past couple of years but this looks to be the best one of the lot for one reason: consistency.

Since his transfer to Villarreal from MLS in 2008, Altidore hasn’t had the easiest of times on the field. Jozy has played the full 90 minutes for a club team just nine times since he left MLS; at the age of 21 AZ will already be his 6th club. The previous statement looks like the start of a journeyman career, but there is hope; the move to AZ is a permanent deal. Jozy will have four years to show what he can do in the Dutch Eredivisie. By the time his deal is done, he will still be just 25 and free to sign anywhere else.

The problem with Jozy in his European club career has always been playing time. Jozy has made 49 league appearances and scored just 3 league goals in his European career (63 appearances and 6 goals overall). So the question with any new transfer was always going to be “will Jozy be a first choice player?” I believe the answer is yes.

Despite finishing 4th in the league last year, AZ have just three other forwards under contract: Johann Berg Guomundsson, Ruud Boymans and Charlison Benschop. A quick look at their résumés shows that they are all around the same age as Altidore but nowhere near as accomplished. Jozy is the only proven goalscorer on this roster (though he hasn’t proven it for club yet, just international) and should thus be a first choice starter. Things aren’t always that simple but the fact that AZ’s technical director Earnie Stewart made 101 appearances for USA can’t hurt.

Jozy should get consistent playing time for the first time in his European career. Consistent playing time should lead to improvement and ultimately a deal to play in a better league. Many of us have already written off Jozy, but I believe this will be the first time in his career that a team will really believe in him and put effort into making him a top player.

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