5 Reasons USMNT Needs to Have Jozy Altidore on the Roster Going Forward
Jozy Altidore returned to the United States roster for a friendly game in Russia Nov. 14. A match that ended in a 2-2 draw.
Altidore was returning after being left off the roster for two crucial World Cup qualifying matches. A contentious decision made by head coach Jürgen Klinsmann.
The young U.S. forward had been doing great for his club AZ Alkmaar, but it was not enough to nab him a spot on the roster. The U.S. advanced to The Hex anyway.
Only time will tell if Klinsmann brings Altidore back in to the fold when the last round of qualifying gets underway. But he needs Altidore.
Here are five reasons the USMNT need to have Altidore on the roster for future matches.
This is a team sport, and anyone who has ever participated in a team sport can tell you just how important chemistry is.
Leave a player off the roster for an extended period of time and they lose that sense of chemistry with their teammates. That cannot happen with Altidore.
If Altidore will be playing a significant role for the team, then he needs to be training and playing his USMNT brethren. He needs to develop that chemistry with his teammates.
Leaving him off the roster going forward is not only a disservice to his talents, but the USMNT. It does not help anyone. If Altidore is not in the long-term vision for the team, that is fine, but if he is, then he needs to be on the roster.
This slide has a dual meaning.
Having Altidore on the team will give him more experience in the system, with the staff, alongside his teammates and against international competition. When we talk about players needing more experience this is generally what we mean. It will help the young American out, as well.
Also, in spite of his age, he is also one of the veterans of the team. That is the second meaning for experience.
Number 17 has seen a lot of action while wearing the crest. More so than a lot of the older players on the roster.
The experience he has already had under the USMNT banner is vital moving forward, and he can continue to grow by gaining more experience with the team.
Bringing the Team Together
Klinsmann has called up several young players to the roster in the last year. Their talents have been a bright spot for the U.S., but they are still on the team with a host of veterans that have a lot of experience under their belts at this level.
Altidore can be the go-between for the rookies and the veterans.
He connects with both sides.
He has been teammates for a long time with the veteran members of the team, and he is still a young man that can connect with the potential future of U.S. soccer. He can help get them into the fold more quickly than if they came aboard without his presence.
That would be a role Altidore would have to accept, but if he would, then it would be just another great reason to keep him on the roster.
Most of us are guilty of forgetting that Altidore is still growing as a player. He just turned 23, after all.
Sure, he has 52 caps with the team, but this is a new coach and a new system. He needs time working with this staff, and these players, to continue to develop his game. The U.S. cannot rely solely upon him growing as a player with his club.
If Klinsmann sees his potential, then he should foster that talent firsthand.
Altidore needs to be on the squad to make him a better player. It is mutually beneficial.
Life Beyond 2014
Much of the focus, deservedly so, is on the next World Cup. However, U.S. Soccer has to see beyond Brazil for the longevity of the team.
Altidore has been hailed as the next face of American soccer for quite some time. All signs point to this still being the case. He has a lot of talent and is one of the more popular players on the team.
If he is the one to lead the USMNT after 2014, then he should be playing a significant role with the team now.
There will be life for the USMNT after Donovan, Dempsey and others continue to age. In 2018, it is likely that it will be the future 29-year-old Altidore leading the charge for the U.S. If that is who the U.S. will tap as our next leader, then he needs to be put on the roster.
He has to show he has the ability to lead.