Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore signs three-year extension
Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore (17) celebrates his goal against Club America during first half CONCACAF Champions League semifinal action in Toronto on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, February 28, 2019 1:12PM EST
Toronto FC confirmed Thursday that star striker Jozy Altidore is staying put.
The 29-year-old U.S. international has signed a three-year contract extension that will keep him in Toronto through the 2022 season.
“This is my family, this club and this city,” Altidore said in a statement. “The fans, from the first day, they accepted me, they gave me the right to show what I'm all about, and they took me in. We've built something great together and I'm really eager to see what's to come.”
Altidore has 60 goals and 20 assists in 114 appearances for TFC in all competitions. He ranks second to the departed Sebastian Giovinco on TFC's all-time goal-scoring list and stands eighth on the all-time combined appearances list with 114.
He is one of nine players to have made at least 100 appearances for the club.
“Jozy expressed his desire to be here and the feeling was mutual. Our fans here love him and I hope he'll wear a TFC jersey for the rest of his career,” Toronto president Bill Manning said in a statement. “Since coming to Toronto, Jozy has helped TFC win multiple championships, scoring so many clutch goals, including the biggest goal in our club's history. We look forward to more great moments.”
On the international scene, Altidore has earned 110 caps and scored 41 goals for the U.S.
Altidore's decision to stay is welcome news after the sudden and unexpected departure of Giovinco and Spanish playmaker Victor Vazquez, who combined for 45 goals and 46 assists over the last two seasons.
Giovinco, a designated player like Altidore who was entering the last year of his contract, was unable to come to terms with Toronto and left for Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal FC. Vazquez, who is 32 like Giovinco, went to Qatar's Al-Arabi SC.
Toronto, bundled out of the CONCACAF Champions League by Panama's Club Atletico Independiente de la Chorrera at the first hurdle, turns its attention to the MLS season which opens Saturday with a game at Philadelphia.
Toronto went from champion in 2017 (20-5-9, 69 points) to 19th in 2018 (10-18-16, 36 points).
Altidore ranked seventh in the league last season with total compensation of US$5 million, according to the MLS Players Union. Giovinco topped the league at $7.115 million while captain Michael Bradley, whose contract also expires at the end of 2019, was No. 2 at $6.5 million
When healthy, the U.S. international is a dominant force. The combination of his size and power and the guile and vision of Giovinco/Vazquez proved to be very dangerous.
The Toronto offence should be strengthened by the expected arrival of Spanish attacking midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo from Belgium's KRC Genk in mid-March. Toronto is also looking to use targeted allocation money on one or two more recruits.
Altidore was drafted 17th overall by the MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls) in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft. He spent two seasons in MLS before joining Spain's Villarreal CF in June 2008. He went on to play for England's Hull City, Turkey's Buraspor and AZ Alkmaar of the Netherlands before moving to Sunderland in July 2013. He joined Toronto in January 2015.
He was an all-star 2015, 2017 and was named MLS Cup MVP 2017 when Toronto won the title.
Altidore has 45 goals and 12 assists in 88 regular-season games with Toronto. He has seven goals and four assists in 11 playoff matches.