One more quick word about l’affair Altidore: (And, no, this is not just another excuse to use “l’affair Altidore,” although I have to admit, I do rather like it.)
In a telephone interview with Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, Altidore sure sounds like a guy who understands the situation and isn’t about to sit around and brood about it. As I’ve said before, Altidore always sounds like a sharp fellow, and this is another example. From Wahl’s piece:
I’m the student here. I’m the player and I’m learning always. It doesn’t matter if I don’t understand. I have to get on the same page as the boss and all the senior players, not the other way around. I’m not a guy who can walk into the team and say, ‘Guys, adjust to me.’ That’s not my mindset. I’m trying to get on the same page as them, and until I do that I’m sure I won’t be playing. I want to try and do that as quickly as possible. I want to score great goals for the national team and be dominant for them. But unfortunately it’s not so easy sometimes when the styles of play are much different.”
In the piece, Altidore also acknowledges that AZ Alkmaar’s choice hold him in the Netherlands for an extra week last summer, as Klinsmann held what he termed an important mini-camp, was damaging to his national team pursuits. That part is pretty interesting – especially since the U.S. forward’s short, forced estrangement was not his fault.
(MORE: the surprising overreaction on Altidore’s omission)
The important number to remember here is “22.” That’s Altidore’s age.
He could easily be assisting the United States qualification efforts for World Cup 2022 – and all points in between, obvioulsy – and could quite plausibly be in Qatar for that summer’s sun-sizzle of a tournament.
Keeping his cool about all this is the man’s best play, and he’s nailing it. Even at age 22, he seems to have a better perspective on this than quite a few fans and even a few writers or broadcasters.
It is, after all, just two matches. And like the team itself, the goal isn’t to play in Antigua or even in Kansas City on a cool October night – as awesome as the atmosphere promises to be next week at Livestrong Sporting Park.
The goal, of course, is to be in Brazil in the summer of 2014.