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Give & Go: USA And Hull City Striker Jozy Altidore

By Matthew Braine

Goal.com: Growing up, was becoming a professional soccer player the ultimate goal?

Jozy Altidore: Well, I played basketball growing up too but soccer was always my passion. Everyone in my family identifies with it, so it was a natural progression. Still, I think I could have made a statement in March Madness.

Goal.com: With the New York Red Bulls, you were youngest player to ever score in the Major League Soccer playoffs. How did your experience there help you develop?

Altidore: I think it did a lot for me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the Red Bulls. I would love to maybe comeback one day and play in the MLS again.

Goal.com: With Villarreal, you became the first American to score in La Liga but playing time was sparse. Now, at Hull, you are getting consistent time on the pitch. What’s your outlook on the situation?

Altidore: I am open to any situation where I can get good experience. This year, an opportunity opened up and now that I’m here I plan to take advantage of it. My goal is to continue playing well and contribute anything I can to the team.

Goal.com: When you found out you were moving to Hull, you tweeted on Twitter. What are your thoughts on Twitter?

Altidore: It’s a great way to give back to fans. To have a connection everyday and almost converse with your fans is really something. I think everybody, including athletes, is a normal person and fans like to see that.

Goal.com: Within the first few moments of entering your first game for Hull you made a beautiful assist to Kamel Ghilas. Then you scored a few days later. Could you describe those two moments?

Altidore: Being able to help the club early on was great for my confidence. Guys respected me right away and it helped me find my way in. As far as my first English goal goes; anytime you can get the monkey off your back, it’s a relief. It doesn’t matter what game you’re in. Now, it’s just about being effective.

Goal.com: How’s England treating you?

Altidore: Where I’m living is like a mini New York so I love it. I live in Leeds and I think it has a lot of similarities to New York because it’s a big city.  

Goal.com: Talk about the win over Spain and the outlook for the national team as you head towards clinching a spot in the World Cup next year.

Altidore: Beating Spain in the Confederations Cup was great. When it happened you couldn’t help to feel like “wow” but we knew we could do it. No one on the squad was shocked. We just pieced it all together. Going into the final stages of qualification, we feel really confident but nothing is done yet. It won’t be easy but we are looking to win the next few games and lock in a spot.  

Goal.com: What are your long term goals?

Altidore: Well, looking past the World Cup I don’t know to be honest. I want to play in the Champions League. I really want to win everything. Seriously. I want to win a league title. I’ve seen people do it and I think down the road when I’m 30 or something, the U.S. will be in a greater position to win a World Cup. I think have a shot next year, I mean I think we’re really prepared to contend  right now, but in 10 years or so, the U.S. will be a bigger force.

Goal.com: Who is the toughest player you’ve ever faced?

Altidore: I’d say Carles Puyol of Spain. He isn’t the biggest or the fastest guy but he just buzzes. He’s everywhere and very tough. He has a lot of heart and plays bigger than he is.

Goal.com: Who is your favorite player to play with?

Altidore: I’ve had a lot of great moments with Freddy (Adu) so definitely him. We did great things with the U-20 team. I look forward to playing with him again. I also love playing with Charlie Davies.

Goal.com: Do you have a player that you aspire to be like?

Altidore: Growing up I was a huge fan of Thierry Henry and I still am. I think he’s the perfect modern striker and he’s also a great role model.

Matthew Braine writes the Americans in the UK piece every Monday. Contact him with your questions or comments at matthew.braine@hotmail.com

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