When you think about some of the most influential forwards in American soccer over the course of the last decade or so, Jozy Altidore is a man who immediately comes to mind. Whenever he’s given an extended run to shine in Major League Soccer, more often than not, he takes the opportunity will both hands and seizes it.
Alas, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for the forward because as reported by Goal and Sportsnet, he has received an undisclosed fine for stating that he believes MLS referees are “some of the worst in the world”, and are “absolutely horrible”.
Stand up and speak
There are two different sides to this, as you can obviously imagine, given the nature of the era we’re in with soccer/football. From a free speech perspective, it’s kind of baffling to see a fine like this actually being enforced because the guy was just giving his opinion. Which, by the way, is something that millions upon millions of fans do every single week.
On the other hand, as weird as it may seem, the league does have a public criticism policy and the rules are quite clear for everyone to see. Jozy took it upon himself to tweet this, and then proceeded not to delete it, so he opened himself up to this kind of backlash.
Either way, though, he does have a point about the state of the refs over there in the MLS. It just feels like many of them haven’t properly developed an ability to adequately judge the status of any given game yet at that level, which is a shame. Perhaps we’re being a little bit too harsh, but the proof is kind of in the pudding.
If the MLS wants to be viewed as one of the best leagues in world soccer, then they need to start pulling their finger out and realising that maybe, just maybe, the players themselves aren’t the problem here.
Altidore isn’t someone who is particularly known for causing much of a stir with any team that he plays for, so you can tell that this isn’t just randomly coming from a malicious place. He wants to see some changes being made, and it’s easy to see why.
We don’t think this is going to be enough to warrant Altidore looking elsewhere for a new club, because the guy just knows how to consistently thrive in Major League Soccer. It is where he feels most comfortable, it is where he plays his best stuff, and there’s evidence to suggest that he just doesn’t have what it takes to thrive in European football – or, at least, not in the Premier League.
As an ambassador for the league there are few better, and as we look ahead to the remainder of his career, we can picture him being even more vocal if things continue to pop up that he doesn’t agree with. We’re talking about a man who fights for what he believes in, and the MLS needs more of that.