Jozy Altidore has spoken of his family's agonising wait for news of friends and relatives caught up in the Haiti earthquake. The 20-year-old United States striker, who is currently on loan at English Premier League side Hull City, is of Haitian heritage.
Both of Altidore's parents, who now reside in the US, are from the now devastated country and they lost all contact with their family in the aftermath of the 7.0 magnitude quake earlier this month. Altidore was given compassionate leave after the disaster occurred on 12 January and had to wait for around a week before hearing all his family were safe.
Now he is back in training after missing Hull's last two matches, he intends to be at the forefront of attempts to raise money for those affected. "It was troublesome for my family but finally we know my family is healthy and safe, and that is the most important thing," Altidore said. "Now I have a responsibility being one of the few Haitians doing what I'm doing on the world stage. I represent them back at home and in the United States.
"I have donated already and will keep doing, and I urge others to because I think it is important," he went on. "I think they need it now more than ever, the country has been through so much. At this point in time anything helps. The little coins you have stored away in the house - it is going to help with food, water, places to sleep.
"It is our responsibility as people who have things to eat every day and don't have to worry about where we are sleeping every night to donate to people who are less fortunate," the striker urged. "I think everyone understands the situation and there is not an excuse not to help."
Back to football
Altidore, on a season-long loan from Spanish side Villarreal, is now trying to refocus on football. The American-born forward has endured a difficult first half of the season and is still awaiting his first goal in the Premier League.
Altidore has a huge incentive to perform to secure a place in the USA squad for this summer's World Cup in South Africa. "I am excited to be back," he said. "The week of training has been good and I'm fully focused. I want to make the most of the next five months I am here. I feel like I have a point to prove and I want to improve my play on the pitch and get into some good form leading up to the summer."
Altidore was disciplined earlier this season for revealing to his Twitter followers he had been dropped for a game against Portsmouth because he arrived late at the ground. He added: "I've had my mistakes, everybody has, but it is how you bounce back and show you have learned that is important. I think I have done that."