Toronto FC’s Jozy Altidore is heading into a new phase in his career both on and off the field.
For weeks, there was speculation saying Jozy Altidore would likely be chosen to wear the captain armband for Toronto FC’s home opener on March 7th.
Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney had options when it came to choosing someone to step in as captain for the injured Michael Bradley.
Vanney said he decided on striker Altidore for two main reasons: his personality/influence on the team, and in an attempt to challenge him.
Altidore has been with Toronto FC for six seasons and is the club’s second all-time leading scorer.
He told Humber News that he feels comfortable with the captain title.
“It comes to a point after six years with the team and the franchise, everyone knows you to a tee so, in that regard, I don’t have to be anything that I’m not, which is really comfortable for me,” said Altidore. “It’s just all about being more of myself and bringing that passion and energy to the team and more of leading by example than anything else. I think when you do that guys look at that and they follow that, it’s infectious so that’s all I’m trying to bring to the table,” he continued.
When asked what kind of leader Altidore is, he said “I get along with everybody, I try to make it to know something about each guy on the team, I think that’s important, especially new guys as they come in, they want to feel welcome, they want to feel part of the group. That’s just something I personally love to do.”
Showcasing that he has talent beyond athletics, Altidore became the first current elite athlete to co-host an entire SportsCentre in Canada.
Last night, Altidore took on all responsibilities that come with being an anchor, including reading highlight reels, interviewing TSN’s NBA and NHL analysts, and breaking down the TSN top 10 best MLS goals so far this year.
“I have a new appreciation for this, how hard these guys prepare and how much work and preparation goes into it,” said Altidore after finishing the live show. “who wouldn’t want a life talking about sports all the time and doing that kind of thing so hopefully I can come back soon.”
If all goes well, Altidore should have a few more years left on the pitch, but last night he proved that he can hold his own in the broadcasting world for a potential post-playing career.
“I think once his playing days are done, if he wants to pursue this, I’d certainly be encouraging it that’s for sure,” said Smith.
“He brings an ingredient that’s really important, and that’s passion. Passion to learn and pick things up,” said Smith. “I know from experience that it takes a lot of reps to come in and feel comfortable and he seemed to feel comfortable right away. The other stuff will come but you got to feel good in front of a camera and he obviously does.”
Although he feels comfortable in his role as Captain, Altidore admits it’s not as easy as it looks.
“The on the fly stuff, the talking in the ear, there’s a lot of elements that you don’t see when you’re watching from home on your couch and that’s what I mean when I say you have to be ready,” said Altidore. “You have to be able to adjust on the fly, it was an eye opening experience but I loved it, I had a great time.”
Toronto FC is looking to rebound from a last-minute draw in San Jose last week in their home opener this Saturday.
When asked what fans can expect in the upcoming match, Altidore said, “hopefully a win,” then Smith chimed in jokingly saying, “Hopefully I get to play.”
Altidore continued, “Yeah, hopefully Rod subs in in the 90th minutes and BANG, heads one in there. But, if anything I think we can expect a good display, I think we started the season off well and we’re pretty good at home so I anticipate us to put in a good effort and hopefully take all the points.”