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Sunday, 6 March 2016

Beyond POV-FS – Jozy Altidore on Extra Time Radio & Players are People Too at Waking the Red

I put up a post at Waking the Red in the past few weeks called Players are People Too, the first of a new series of columns, weekly is the plan, though hard to guarantee.

It was a gentle call that on the eve of the season, with the festivities about to commence, it should always be remembered, amongst the hustle and bustle of the campaign, that these players, coaches, and the like are all people too.

Fans can get overly involved in their team. It's expected, and for the large part, it's all good fun. Investing in your team is part of the magic of sport.

But sometimes things can go a little too far.

And when that happens, it is good to ground our criticisms, valid though they may be, in the realities of generally being nice to other people.

Further to that point, Jozy Altidore was on Extra Time Radio this past week and he expanded on a quote from earlier in the off-season, where he discussed a similar idea to the post at WTR.

“A lot of the times, as professional athletes, people forget that we're human, we have lives and we go through stuff, just like you do. You have your highs and your lows,” said Altidore.

“I had some highs and lows in my personal life that I had to go through, which is normal,” he continued. “That affected my profession, which is normal too... but it's not so forgiving in my line of work. I've overcome a lot of those things, it's made me a better person, a stronger person, and I'm allowed now to refocus back on what matters, which is my soccer.”

Every player, like every person, has their own way about them. And at risk of playing amateur psychologist, Altidore did have a little cloud over him last season, one which appears to have cleared.

His first interview back in Toronto exhibited a different beast: he was happy, smiling, jovial, and unshackled, as though a weight had been lifted off his back – Carbs man, they're evil (not really; and delicious by the way).

Unfortunately, a muscle injury looks to keep him out of the first match or two, but expect a different sort of Altidore to take the pitch for Toronto FC this season. Should be fun to watch.

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