It’s official. U.S. national team striker Jozy Altidore is heading back to Major League Soccer and has joined Toronto FC as a Designated Player.
[ RELATED: Altidore missed by U.S. at World Cup ]
Altidore, 25, ends his 18-month stay at Sunderland which saw him net just one Premier League goal for the Black Cats and returns to league where he made his name as a teenager with the New York Red Bulls.
England international striker Jermain Defoe heads in the opposite direction as the 32-year-old spent just one season with Toronto, scoring 12 goals in 21 appearances for TFC.
[ VIDEO: Defoe “missed” Premier League ]
Altidore will be unveiled by TFC at 11 a.m. ET, so stay tuned for plenty more reaction to his signing at ProSoccerTalk. Here’s what Toronto FC’s General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko had to say about TFC capturing Altidore via the Allocation ranking.
“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,” Bezbatchenko said. “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.”
Teaming up with U.S. national teammate Michael Bradley at BMO Field, Altidore will look to regain his confidence and become the undisputed top scorer in MLS.
Having the USA’s top striker back in North America’s top-flight will certainly create plenty of buzz in MLS circles and despite his poor form in the PL, Altidore’s arrival will significantly boost Toronto’s playoff hopes in 2015 and beyond.
[ RELATED: Defoe scores twice in first 24 minutes in MLS ]
After ripping it up in Holland’s top-flight with AZ Alkmaar — Altidore scored 51 goals in 93 appearances plus won the Dutch Cup with AZ — the New Jersey native signed with Sunderland for $13 million in the summer of 2013 but despite getting plenty of chances to shine, he only scored four goals in 56 appearances for the Mackems.
Altidore is the latest in a long-line of USMNT players to head back home, as Bradley, Mix Diskerud, Jermaine Jones, Brek Shea and Clint Dempsey have signed with MLS over the past 18 months.
[ RELATED: Altidore impresses for USMNT vs. Colombia ]
It remains to be seen who got the best deal here, as Defoe is a proven goalscorer who did just that in his time with TFC but clearly wanted a move back to England. So, Toronto has swapped a player who didn’t want to be with them for one desperate to play games, score goals and rebuild his reputation as the USA’s best striker. Sounds liked the front office at TFC may have got this one spot on, as the telepathic link up play between Bradley and Altidore is something that should excite soccer fans up in Ontario and across the USA.
Welcome home, Jozy.