This is the latest installment of We Are TFC. Every week, we’ll sit down with one of the Reds and help you get to know them a little bit better, on and off the field. This week, Devang Desai chats with Jozy Altidore. The U.S. international has been on fire of late, recording five goals in his last six games. We hope you’ll enjoy this series and let us know which TFC players you’d like to see profiled in the future.
Take a look at your phone, what photo to you means the most and why?
ALTIDORE: It's actually a video. It's of my son and he's imitating me (laughs).
How much has your life changed since becoming a father?
ALTIDORE: It made me realize that there’s more to life and now I’m in charge of holding and raising a person that will look to me for everything. It's excited me at the same time. It’s just surreal to see a little piece of myself walking around and looking to me for guidance.
How would people close to you describe you in one word?
ALTIDORE: Humble. Modest. Really the same word, isn’t it?
ALTIDORE: Because I think I just cherish my family and they mean the most to me and I always remember my beginnings and where I came from and what it took me to get to where I am to this day and all the blessings I’ve been able to receive. It’s just the journey; remembering the journey and how hard it was to get here; I don’t forget those times. It makes me enjoy it that much more.
You were able to help those in Haiti, where your parents were born, watch COPA America this Summer. How much does it mean to you?
ALTIDORE: That gave me a lot of joy because I remember growing up as a kid and those certain moments that changed my thinking forever. I always said to myself, if I could do this for somebody else in any way shape or form, maybe a kid in Haiti watched the COPA America and then suddenly believed he could be a pro or be something great in school – or whatever it may be, so I always thought that if I had the opportunity to help or change a kid’s way of thinking and give them belief that they can something greater than what they are, I would take that chance so it meant a lot to be to be able to do that.
Favourite Soccer Player and why?
ALTIDORE: Thierry Henry and the Brazilian Ronaldo. They both have different styles but I think they represented the kind of evolution of strikers. I think they’re the first of their kind, with Henry being such a different player than what the past was, in the sense that he could do it all. The same goes for Ronaldo. I don’t think you saw much of that type of player in the past and now you see a lot of players trying to emulate their styles, as in being mobile strikers that can do a little bit of everything.
Who is the funniest player on the team?
ALTIDORE: There’s a few… I’d say Eriq Zavaleta, Danny Lovitz, Josh Williams and Tsubasa Endoh.
Tsubasa? That's a new one..
ALTIDORE: Yeah, he makes everyone laugh. For a rookie, he’s a confident but fun kid. He knows how to have fun; Danny, Josh and Zav they know how to keep the environment light.
Do you have any quirks or superstitions – something you do before the game?
ALTIDORE: I always pray. I pray that there are no horrible injuries to players. It’s funny because I get in that position a lot (laughs), but I mean career ending injuries that you never want to see happen to anyone.
What about teammates, past or present, things you’ve seen them do that was like “whoa… that guy is out there”
ALTIDORE: I've seen some weird ones. I’ve seen guys that needed to have a cigarette before the game or at halftime.
How are you killing time in the off season?
ALTIDORE: Spending a lot of time with my family, doing some foundation work but the off-season is pretty short for me, it’s usually back to work with the national team at some point.
If you weren’t a soccer player, what would you be doing?
ALTIDORE: I would be probably an electrical engineer – If I didn’t play soccer and I went to school. I was always interested in how things work and figuring stuff out and my dad had an Associate’s Degree in electrical engineering so I just thought that it would be cool.
ALTIDORE: Man of Fire. I’m a Denzel guy.
Favourite music artist?
ALTIDORE: Kanye West! The old Kanye though, the new Kanye’s a bit different.
What’s the cut off?
ALTIDORE: Right after 808 & Heartbreak.
When you’re not playing soccer during the season, what’s your favourite pastime?
ALTIDORE: Spending time with my family, my son and working with my foundation. And also school.
ALTIDORE: Yeah. I’m taking classes at Southern New Hampshire University to get my Business Degree.
Favourite moment with the TFC thus far?
ALTIDORE: I would say the FC Dallas home game – aside from the playoff clincher against the New York Red Bulls. The FC Dallas home opener was a great moment. You could feel what the team was doing and everything that myself, Michael and Seba have been pushing for – you saw that, you know. The wheels were turning, you knew something was happening. The new stadium and the way it was, the atmosphere, we knew that Toronto FC is slowly becoming one of the clubs that people look from the outside and say “that’s a special club, that’s a club I want to play for.”
When I say Toronto, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
ALTIDORE: Home. It feels like home.
ALTIDORE: I'll go with Yorkville.
Who are your heroes in life?
ALTIDORE: My parents.
How much have they helped you get to this point in your career as a professional?
ALTIDORE: My parents both came to the US when they were 23-24 years old, not knowing any English and my dad had $300 in his pocket. So every time I think about hardships I’m going through, I think of them and what it must have been like to leave their friends and family to come to a Country like the US, having nothing and being able to make it. I think about this daily when I’m going through something rough and nothing I’m going through can compare to something like that. And the way they raised me and made me believe in certain morals and values, without them, not even about soccer, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
What is your ultimate goal in life?
ALTIDORE: To raise a family like how my parents raised mine. To raise my kids the right way. To set the right example for them and leave the world a better place than when I came.