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Jozy to Live La Vida Loca in Spain

Jozy Altidore is perhaps the one soccer player born in the U.S. with the most raw potential. He is also about to become the one soccer player born in the U.S. with the most “bling bling.”

Jozy is off to Spain (Villarreal to be exact). The Spanish giant paid MLS approximately $10 million for Altidore’s athleticism in the hopes they can transform him into a deadly striker. While the terms of Jozy’s deal haven’t been finalized, it will likely ultimately exceed double the highest amount ever paid for a MLS player.

The move is bitter sweet for American soccer fans. For fans of the Men’s National Team, it’s a coup. Jozy will play against tougher competition, which should result in the honing of his raw potential into brilliant skill. But for fans of MLS, it’s a drag. Jozy was one of the league’s brightest stars and biggest draws. For Red Bull fans in particular, it flat out sucks.

Ultimately, I think everyone, even an NYRB fan, wants to see Jozy succeed in La Liga. Jozy’s new team though, Villarreal, is one of the World’s best ten or so teams by my estimate, so we shouldn’t expect to see Altidore roaming the field in tandem with Giuseppe Rossi (an Italian who is incidentally probably the best player of his generation who was raised in the U.S.) any time soon. He’ll likely be loaned to smaller clubs so he can improve his tactical play prior to getting a shot in La Liga.

Aldtidore’s move may conflict with the Summer Olympics though, and now some pundits are predicting he will not make the trip to China with Adu, Bradley and the rest of the future of American soccer. That’s a shame because the same players gelled nicely at the U-20 World Cup recently, and I, and many other MNT fans, wanted to see Altidore build on the success he achieved in that tourney at this Summer’s Olympics.

But, if Jozy can’t ultimately make it to Beijing, it won’t be the end of the World. His new deal possibly signals a brighter future for MLS and U.S. Soccer. What Jozy makes of his new opportunity has yet to be seen, but I for one, will be carefully watching.

Adios Josmer. Buena suerte!