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Jozy Altidore Returns

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It's been a while, Jozy. Welcome home.

I love you 2006 era MLS
I love you 2006 era MLS
Al Bello/Getty Images

In 2006 the Metrostars made good on a 2005 trade with Real Salt Lake acquiring the 17th overall pick.

A year before the Metrostars had sent Eddie Pope to the expansion franchise for allocation and either the right to swap first round picks in 2005, or RSL's 2006 second round pick. The Metrostars choose the later.

With the 17th overall pick the Metrostars selected a young 16 year old from Livingston, New Jersey named Jozy Altidore.

Jozy Altidore would never play for the Metrostars. The team was re-branded as the New York Red Bulls one month the 2006 SuperDraft. Altidore, would not join the team until August, because he needed to finish up his high school education.

He made his MLS debut before his 17th birthday, and became, at the time, the youngest goalscorer in MLS history.

Altidore helped the team qualify for both the 2006 and 2007 MLS playoffs. By mid-2008, he was gone. He went off to Villareal on a transfer fee of $10 million, to this date the largest fee paid for an American player.

Altidore did not have the success in Spain he would have liked, playing in only 9 league matches, and having unsuccessful loans in Spain, England, and Turkey. A stop in the Netherlands reinvigorated his goal scoring touch, but a move to the Premier League proved to be unsuccessful.

Since his departure in 2008, MLS has changed and in some ways stayed the same. The league expanded from 14 teams to 20, but Toronto FC still has not had a playoff appearance despite debuting in 2007.

The Red Bulls were playing at Giants Stadium when Altidore left, but now they have a fancy new home. He visited, briefly, during the send off to the 2014 World Cup, but Aug. 15 will be the first time since the 2008 transfer that Altidore ran into the Red Bulls during MLS play.

It is a bittersweet time for Altidore, as a promising season in Toronto has been derailed by the Gold Cup and injuries. The striker is clearly frustrated, and as many can tell you the best cure for frustration sometimes is just to go home.

Do you have any favorite memories of Jozy Altidore? Share them in the comments.