January 29, 2013
GRACE UNDER PRESSURE
Amid racial taunts, Altidore answers back with a goal and an eloquent retort
Former Red Bulls striker Jozy Altidore showed his class on and off the soccer pitch for AZ Alkmaar on Tuesday.
Jozy Altidore: "What are you doing to do? You just hope these people can find a way to improve themselves. You can only pray for them."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
He scored one goal and set up another to help AZ to a 5-0 Dutch Cup quarterfinal triumph over Den Bosch.
During the match Altidore was subjected to racist chants by Den Bosch supporters. According to the AZ website, the spectators made jungle sounds every time Altidore touched the ball at Stadion De Vliert.
When talking about the treatment he endured, the 23-year-old Altidore showed remarkable poise for someone his age.
"It's a bit disappointing these things still happen in this time we are in," he told Eredivisielive.nl. "What are you doing to do? You just hope these people can find a way to improve themselves. You can only pray for them. I feel like I have an obligation to my club, to my family, not react to things like this and show the club [is] better than that and I was raised better than that to respond to such ridiculous behavior.
"You would hope that humanity can grow from these type of times, but it's still alive -- racism. All we can do now is educate ourselves and the young kids to be better than that. I'm not going to fight them. They have some issues and need some help. You pray for them and hope they get better."
After two announcements had been made to stop the chanting, Den Bosch said a third warning would result in the match'sabandonement. Referee Reinold Wiedemeijer attempted to call the game, but Altidore reportedly urged the official to continue.
AZ had grabbed a 3-0 advantage behind goals from from Viktor Elm, Johan Berg Gudmundsson and Adam Maher before Jelle de Bock was red carded for fouling Altidore in the penalty area in the 38th minute. The U.S. international converted the resulting penalty kick before Den Bosch's Joey Brock also saw red early in the second half.
The match was stopped for a brief time when snowballs were thrown at an assistant referee. After the game resumed, Maher tallied his second goal in the 60th minute.
AZ and Altidore will take on Groningen on Saturday. He is expected to be called into the U.S. National Team for next week's World Cup qualifying match in Honduras.