Haiti remains close to Altidore's heart
The parents of USA international Jozy Altidore (white jersey) were born in Haiti. (Photo: Mexsport)FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts -- Every chance Jozy Altidore gets to play for the United States is special, but Friday’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, Group A showdown against Haiti at Gillette Stadium means a little more.That’s because Altidore’s parents, Giselle and Joseph, are from the Caribbean country. If selected by head coach Jürgen Klinsmann, it would be Altidore’s first meeting against Les Grenadiers.“I’m excited man,” Altidore said before training on Thursday morning. “I haven’t thought much about it, but I look forward to it and, hopefully, I get on the field. It will be fun, a good moment for me in my career.”Born in Livingston, New Jersey, Altidore has raised thousands of dollars through his foundation to help the people of Haiti, especially underprivileged children.“I’m always doing stuff, always making donations and taking donations,” remarked Altidore. “I’m working on the next project right now. Hopefully, I’ll have some news on that in the future, but I’m looking forward to the game and all the Haitian fans out there tomorrow. It will be nice.”The 25-year-old, who started in the Americans' 2-1 win over Honduras in the opening game of the group stage Tuesday night in Frisco, Texas, is still not 100 percent fit after suffering a hamstring injury in May with Toronto FC of Major League Soccer.“Jozy is in a stage where we still have to build him after his hamstring and the only way we’re going to get him stronger every day is by giving him minutes, playing him and working him hard also in training,” Klinsmann said. “Jozy will improve every day here in this tournament.”As for the Haiti team that rallied to tie Panama 1-1 in the Gold Cup’s opening match, Altidore wasn’t sure what to expect.“Haiti is always unpredictable man,” he finished. “From the times I’ve been watching them since I was young to the games I went to until now, you never know what you’re going to get. A lot of that is a good thing because sometimes you have players who can make something out of nothing that you didn’t see before so it’s something you have to be aware of.”