theGrio’s 100: Jozy Altidore, USA soccer’s X-factor is a world of talent

theGRIO's 100 - If the U.S. men's national soccer team makes a run at this year's World Cup in Brazil, 24-year-old striker Jozy Altidore will be a big reason why...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Who is Jozy Altidore?

If the U.S. men’s national soccer team makes a run at this year’s World Cup in Brazil, 24-year-old striker Jozy Altidore will be a big reason why.

Altidore is unquestionably one of America’s greatest soccer talents. Sports Illustrated describes Altidore as being on the verge of stardom and it’s hard to argue with their assessment.

Why is he on theGrio’s 100?

Altidore earned his first Futbol de Primera U.S. national team player of the year award in 2013. It was largely Altidore’s sensational summer that helped the men’s team secure a World Cup berth for 2014.

Altidore currently competes for Sunderland in England’s Premiere League. He has also been candid about his past experiences with racism playing soccer overseas. He told the New York Times of his time playing in Italy:

“Racism in football is not a little problem; it’s a big problem, a problem that is more alive than people realize,” he said finally. “To go and face it at the root? It would almost make it more appealing to go there.”

Altidore was asked to join FIFA’s newly formed anti-racism task force and he accepted. Born to Haitian parents, Altidore first turned pro at the age of 16. His endorsement deals with brands such as Adidas have made him one of America’s most popular players.

What’s next for Altidore?

It’s all about the 2014 World Cup. Although Altidore has struggled during his time with Sunderland, he’s essentially a lock to make the USA’s final roster.

He’s become the team’s primary international scorer after a stellar 2013. As Bleacher Report’s Joe Tansey writes, he could be the USA’s most important player when the World Cup starts on June 12.

Follow Jozy Altidore on Twitter @JozyAltidore