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Jozy's the One
ESPN Soccernet, September 19th, 2007 3:30PM

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As Freddy Adu continues to be neglected in Lisbon (the 18-year-old wasn't included in Benfica's traveling squad to face AC Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday), the calls to include another promising youngster in the cautionary category of America's Next Big Thing are mounting. Yes, we've heard all about the pitfalls of over-hyping the country's up-and-coming young stars, but ESPN Soccernet's Doug McIntyre can't resist the suggestion that New York Red Bulls forward Josmer Altidore "could be the one."

Just exactly what "one" is that, you ask? The one whose talent indicates he could become the first American to be lumped into soccer's heralded category of "world-class." As McIntyre himself admits, "It's almost sacrilege to think it, let alone say it out loud," but one can't help but marvel at the 17-year-old's many gifts: pace, power and composure in front of goal.

And what a boon Altidore's success would be to soccer in this country -- more so than the historical pop culture significance of David Beckham's own coming to America. This, after all, is a nation of 300 million-plus people that hosted one of the most successful World Cups in history and continues sells out stadiums when the world's biggest names come to town. "We're still waiting for that great American striker to emerge," U.S. goalkeeper Kasey Keller said last year. "That guy that Real Madrid has to have and will pay 30 million euros for." If that guy isn't Altidore, then who is he?

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