Before Jozy Altidore begins his daily morning on-field training grind — three hours worth of agility and shooting drills along with about five miles of running — the MLS star’s most important priority has been getting his 5-year-old son, Cameron, to school. Yet it doesn’t seem that long ago when the Toronto FC forward was the kid the soccer world began keeping their eyes on.
The year was 2006, and Altidore was a 16-year-old soccer prodigy, drafted 17th by the then-New York MetroStars (now Red Bulls) in the MLS SuperDraft. After playing three seasons in New York, Altidore went overseas, where playing for Spain’s Villarreal CF, he became the first American-born player to score in La Liga.
Altidore then had several brief stops in England’s Premier League as well as the Turkish and Dutch leagues. He then returned to MLS in 2015, signing with Toronto FC. Two seasons later, in 2017, after recording 15 regular-season goals, Altidore nailed the game-winning goal in leading Toronto FC to its first-ever MLS Cup title.
He may be best known, however, for his long and storied career with the U.S. Men’s National Team. In 2009, Altidore became the youngest player in team history to score a hat trick in a 2009 win against Trinidad and Tobago. He ranks third all-time among U.S. men in goals scored (42) and was a member of two World Cup teams (2010, 2014).
Altidore is now entering his seventh season with Toronto FC, which opens its MLS regular season this Saturday against CF Montreal. At age 32, the New Jersey native is wiser, more experienced as he becomes comfortable growing into his role as veteran team leader.
Off the pitch, Altidore is a devoted family man (he’s engaged to tennis star Sloane Stephens). He’s also branched into entrepreneurship, backing new health food brand Quantum Energy Squares. While his endeavors begin stretching even past his playing days, his routine remains consistent. He credits a deep mindfulness approach he practices regularly for his renewed focus. It’s one of several tips for success Altidore shares in this week’s Winning Strategy.
“For me, a regimen is important,” Altidore says. “I think for any pro, there are times when optimum training time is your top priority. But you need to recover and make sure you have that downtime to kind of let your mind free and get away from the game or sport or business. So there’s a fine balance. For me, I’m a family guy, so I’m with my son and my fiancée. We love to hang out and just be together.”