For Jozy Altidore, the decision to sign with the Revolution wasn’t just about football. Although he never lived in Boston, the veteran forward – who recently signed a three-year contract with New England – has several local ties.
“It was a difficult process because the athlete, the competitor in me [was] thinking about going overseas and doing that stuff, but I’m a dad now,” Altidore explained during his introductory press conference on Tuesday. “I am a married man. I have to find what is best for my family. My wife has a lot of Boston ties, a lot of history on her side of the family. I have a brother who lives in Boston. So we felt from a family perspective, it was a great place to come. It was the right time and we wanted to be with our loved ones.
Altidore, 32, is married to professional tennis player Sloane Stephens.
“With all the craziness going on, you can’t take this for granted,” Altidore added of the time spent with his family. “I’m happy that everything was done and that I was able to come here and be part of a really great group.”
The former USA international is also inevitably hoping a change of scenery will help revive his career. After two seasons in which he struggled with injuries, Altidore was released by former club Toronto FC.
It ended what was largely a successful run in Toronto, in which Altidore scored 62 goals in seven seasons, helping the club win the MLS Cup in 2017.
In New England, Altidore will be hoping to provide extra goals on top of what the Revolution – a side that led MLS in goals a season ago – already have.
“At that point in my career, it was something that I considered really, really exciting and something that I was having fun, because that’s where I’m at,” he said. “You can’t beat fathers time so I’m thrilled to come in and be the part he’s looking for in the group and help this team try and win a trophy.”
His arrival also provides an opportunity to get back to work with Revolution head coach Bruce Arena, who once gave the then 16-year-old Altidore his MLS debut with the New York Red Bulls in 2006.
“Bruce is the same,” Altidore explained. “Funny enough, he hasn’t changed at all. I can not believe it. He’s exactly the same as he was around 15 years ago when I worked with him at club level and in many ways I think that’s really good. In this industry, people don’t get caught up in success. They stay grounded, they stay the same, and they stick to the things that got them where they are. I see a lot of that in Bruce, but he still wants to win.
The Revolution are currently set to face Cavaly AS in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 on Friday at Gillette Stadium at 5.30pm. New England, winners of the Supporters’ Shield in 2021 for having the best regular season record in MLS, will start league play on February 26 (7:30 p.m.) in Portland against defending Western Conference champion Timbers.
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