TAMPA, Fla. – Jozy Altidore is in Florida with the rest of the U.S. Soccer team – and this might be as close as he gets to Haiti for a while.
But the U.S. striker, coming off his breakout season at AZ Alkmaar in Holland, is perennially invested in assistance efforts for the land of his heritage; Altidore was born and raised in New Jersey, but both parents are from Haiti.
- Fill us in on the latest foundation project:
The latest is something really simple, trying to build wells to drink fresh water to Haiti. So, basically we need people to donate money, because it’s not the type of thing where I can go out and do the donations. This way, it gets people more involved. Instead of just holding a soccer camp and raising money that way, it gets them directly involved.
- I’m sure it’s difficult for you to remain as involved in Haitian assistance as you might like, living 10 months a year in Europe?
Definitely it’s difficult, especially with the time difference and not being able to make a lot of meetings and see a lot of presentations when people come up with different ideas. But my sister Lindsay Altidore, and a personal friend of mine and my publicist, Jeremy Pond, they work really hard behind the scenes to help me get everything ready with the foundation.
- When was the last time you visited Haiti?
It’s been a while, maybe ’08. With the earthquake, and now with the national team [in addition to his time at Alkmaar] there’s just never time, there’s never a good week. So it’s been difficult but I think in the future, I really hope to get something planned.
But, my sister and Jeremy, they are on it like greyhounds! I’m on it, but they are on it all the time. Like right now, that’s what they are doing. They have people they are talking to and plans for the next year. … I’m lucky to have them. And nobody is making any profit off this; it’s all for the people of Haiti.
By the way, Altidore told me one way he stays personally attached: He writes personal emails of thanks to each person who donates to the water project. “When they donate, I can see their names. So, it doesn’t matter to me if it’s a thousand emails I write. I want them to know that I am personally involved.”