Toronto FC announced Friday that it has reached a transfer agreement with English Premier League club, Sunderland A.F.C. and has signed United States international forward Jozy Altidore as a Designated Player. Altidore joins Toronto FC via MLS Allocation rankings; in addition, the club has agreed to transfer forward Jermain Defoe to Sunderland. As per club and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Our top priority is building a winning club with players that are committed to the TFC vision. Jozy is a special player, and checks off all of the boxes that we look for in a player. We are excited to finalize this deal and bring him to Toronto FC,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “It became clear that a return for Jermain to the English Premier League was going to be in the best interests of both sides. We’d like to thank Jermain for his contributions to Toronto FC and wish him well.”
Altidore, 25, was in his second season with Sunderland, where he appeared in a combined 52 matches, scoring three goals for the club.
“Our vision over the past 18 months has been to establish Toronto FC’s international presence, and while just with us for one year, Jermain Defoe played an important role in helping us achieve that goal,” said Tim Leiweke, President and CEO of MLSE. “We appreciate the fact that he worked very closely with us through this process, and while he had a number of options, he ultimately agreed to a deal that would be in the best interests of both the player and TFC. He wanted to ensure that TFC and its fans will benefit from this transfer, and we have. Jozy has chosen to return to MLS, and adding a player of Jozy Altidore’s pedigree is an important addition for our club.”
Altidore began his professional career with the then MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls) after being selected seventeenth overall in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft. In two seasons, Altidore made a combined 41 appearances, scoring 16 goals in MLS regular season and playoff matches. He was transferred to La Liga side Villarreal CF on June 4, 2008. Altidore became the first American player to score in La Liga, when he scored against Athletic Bilbao on November 1, 2008.
In January 2009, he was loaned to Spanish Segunda División club Xerex CD. Due to surgery on his toe, Altidore did not make an appearance for the club. Following the conclusion of his loan, Altidore joined English Premier League side, Hull City A.F.C. on loan for the 2009-10 season. With Hull City, Altidore made a combined 31 appearances and scored two goals. In January 2011, Altidore joined Turkish Süper Lig club, Buraspor on a six-month loan. He made 12 appearances for the club and scored one goal. Altidore signed with Dutch Eredivise side, AZ Alkmaar on July 15, 2011 and remained with the club for two seasons, making a combined 93 appearances and scored 51 goals for the club. He was part of the club’s 2012-13 KNVB Cup winning side, and finished as the tournament’s leading scorer. That same season Altidore set the record for goals scored by an American playing in a European league with 31. Altidore was later sold to Sunderland on July 5, 2013.
To date, Altidore has earned 76 caps with the United States national team, and has scored 25 goals for his country. He earned his first cap against South Africa in November 2007, coming on as a substitute. Altidore became the youngest player in Men’s U.S. national team history to score a hat-trick at the age of 19, on April 1, 2009 in a 3-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago. Altidore was part of the U.S. side in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup squad; and scored the game winning goal against Spain in the semi-finals. He was also part of the U.S. squads in both the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup squads. In addition, Altidore scored in a record five consecutive matches from June 2 to August 14, 2013 for the U.S. national team.
Defoe, 32, was acquired through a transfer with English Premier League club, Tottenham Hotspur and signed as a Designated Player on January 10, 2014. Defoe made a combined 21 appearances, scoring 12 goals and added three assists for Toronto FC.
Jozy Altidore #17
Weight: 175 lbs
Birthdate: November 6, 1989
Birth Place: Livingston, New Jersey
Hometown: Boca Raton, Florida
Last Club: Sunderland A.F.C.
How Acquired: Transferred from Sunderland A.F.C. and signed with Toronto FC on Friday, January 16, 2015
Pronunciation: “Jo-zee Al-ti-dor”