Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Trequartista Sweeper - On Jozy, and on being left off the national team

Photo from Soccer By Ives

Surprising non call-ups not just occur on Philippine soil.

On Monday, Jurgen Klinsmann named the players that he would be selecting for the upcoming 2014 World Cup Qualifers at Antigua and Barbuda and against Guatemala that will be played in Kansas City. The Americans need four points from these two matches to ensure they advance to the next round. Clint Dempsey's on it. So is Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, Maurice Edu, Carlos Bocanegra and so on...

However, there is an interesting omission from Klinsmann's pool. 22 year-old AZ Alkmaar striker Jozy Altidore was left off. His eight goals with the club is tied for tops in the Ere Divisie. Yet, Jurgen went with other options at forward, namely Mexico-based Herculez Gomez and MLS players Alan Gordon of San Jose and Eddie Johnson of Seattle. Jozy has been an integral part of the American effort, having been involved in the previous 17 WCQs, currently the longest in the United States.

But if you read Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl, you might see some interesting things.
"I communicated with Jozy that I was not happy about his latest performances with us, maybe over the last 14 months," Klinsmann said Monday. "Jozy can do much, much better. The reason why he's not coming in is mainly about his performances at Jamaica and at home [last month], also in training. Also certain things that went on through the May-June camp. So we decided to bring in Eddie Johnson and Alan Gordon and give them a chance to show they've improved. They're both doing really well in MLS now."
 Here's another.
When I asked Klinsmann about his club form comment and how it relates to Altidore and Gómez, he said: "I think [club form] is absolutely important. Now it looks a little bit different in Jozy's case because he's doing well with Alkmaar, and he's scoring goals. But he hasn't done well with us in the last couple of camps. That's why I have more trust for these upcoming two games in Eddie Johnson and Alan Gordon."
Does it sound familiar, Filipino football fans?
Now whether Klinsmann can replicate what Hans Michael Weiss did remains to be seen, but clearly, Jozy does not seem to be bitter about the non call-up:
When I came right out and asked Altidore -- are you and Klinsmann on the same page? -- he answered straight up. "I'm the student here," Altidore said. "I'm the player and I'm learning always. It doesn't matter if I don't understand. I have to get on the same page as the boss and all the senior players, not the other way around. I'm not a guy who can walk into the team and say, 'Guys, adjust to me.' That's not my mindset. I'm trying to get on the same page as them, and until I do that I'm sure I won't be playing. I want to try and do that as quickly as possible. I want to score great goals for the national team and be dominant for them. But unfortunately it's not so easy sometimes when the styles of play are much different."
I hope there are more people like Jozy in our national team.

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