Jozy Altidore finds his scoring form 

November, 10, 2011

PARIS -- Jozy Altidore's trip here this week to train for Friday's U.S.-France match (2:55 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and WatchESPN) was just a short hop from his new club, AZ Alkmaar, and his new home in the Netherlands. But it comes in the midst of what's shaping up as a giant leap in his career.

Although he just turned 22, Altidore is enjoying his most productive club stint since moving to Europe from New York in MLS in 2008, with eight goals in all competitions and, more important, regular playing time on a team that leads the Eredivisie. His Dutch league success follows in the footsteps of two U.S. teammates, DaMarcus Beasley (15 goals in two years with PSV Eindhoven) and Michael Bradley (18 goals in just over two years with Heerenveen), who both used Holland as a springboard to bigger leagues overseas.

Altidore believes the Dutch success at shaping young players is no accident. "It's one of the few leagues that I think that still takes the time to develop players," he says. "If you look around the world, a lot of teams don't have the luxury of waiting for their players to develop. I think a lot of teams now are, 'What can you do for me now?' I think that's why the Dutch league is really unique."

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.