Studio 90 is back on the road to continue filming the MNT Series for 2012. Having spent time in February with Michael Bradley in Verona, the crew is in Alkmaar to see what life is like for Jozy Altidore as he nears the end of his first season in the Dutch Eredivisie.
Alkmaar is charming city of canals, a smaller and tamer version of Amsterdam which sits less than 30 minutes to the south. Amongst the cobblestone streets and outdoor cafes, Jozy has finally found the right environment to focus and improve his craft. Much like Michael Bradley discovered earlier in his career, Holland is a nurturing ground for developing talent. Under the direction of head coach Gertjan Verbeek and sporting director - and U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer - Earnie Stewart, Jozy is learning the positional requirements of a striker in a version of a 4-3-3. More importantly, he is developing a confidence and maturity that have led to 17 goals in all competitions, including a run through the quarterfinals of the Europa League.
The "parking" lot at the stadium
Alkmaar has a passionate local following that prefers bikes to cars as the mode of transportation to the stadium, which sits a mere five minutes from the city center. With its fantastic sightlines, easy access and multiple amenities, AFAS Stadium has the look and feel of an ideal MLS stadium.
A packed house at AFAS Stadium saw Jozy Altidore score two goals in the 2-2 draw with Twente
"It was difficult to sit there and watch, especially when you want to be out there with the boys," he said. "But that’s part of the game. It’s unfortunate and disappointing, but we have to pick ourselves up now because we have a very big game Saturday."
Look for the video version of MNT in the Netherlands this summer as the U.S. begins the campaign to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.