An uncommonly powerful striker, Jozy Altidore has been tipped by many to fill the gap for USA left by the retirement of former icon Brian McBride. With roots in the Caribbean nation of Haiti, Altidore, just 19, began his professional career with a bang in the domestic top flight with 15 goals in 37 appearances over two seasons for New York Red Bulls.
His power, nose for goal and ability to bring those around him into the game and disrupt opposition defences was soon attracting the attention of one of Europe's top talent assessors, former Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini. The Chilean tactician wasted no time bringing the youngster to La Liga with Villarreal at the start of the 2008 season for a reported 10 million USD, making the player the biggest-ever signing from MLS. He opened his account against Athletic Bilbao in early November to become the first American to score a goal in Spain's ultra-competitive top flight.
Unfortunately for Altidore, he was sent out on loan to second division leaders Xerez in January 2009 and found it difficult to secure significant playing time. However, his contributions to the US senior national team - after a glittering career at youth and Olympic level - have been significant and consistent. Winning his first cap in November 2007, the physically imposing striker has since moved himself into the reckoning in attack during qualifying for 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, scoring three against Trinidad and Tobago in April 2009 to become the youngest ever hat-trick hero in US history.