Altidore made his professional debut in 2006 at the age of 16 with the New York Red Bulls. In the middle of his third season with New York, in 2008, he made a transfer to Villarreal for a fee of $10 million. During his time with Villarreal, he left on three loan stints – with Spanish Segunda División club Xerez in February–May 2009, English Premier League club Hull City for the entire 2009–10 season, and Turkish club Bursaspor where he went on a six-month loan. In the summer of 2011, he made a switch to AZ in the Netherlands. On March 3, 2013, Altidore surpassed Clint Dempsey for most goals by an American in a European club season with his 24th goal of the 2012–13 campaign. During the 2013 Summer transfer window, Sunderland signed Altidore. He spent one-and-a-half seasons there, with a poor goalscoring record, then returned to MLS with Toronto.
Altidore has represented the United States on various levels of international competition, featuring for the United States U-17 team at the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship, U-20 team at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, and the U-23 team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He made his debut for the senior national team in 2007 and has earned over 100 caps, representing them at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2011, 2015 and 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cups, and the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.
The youngest of four children to Haitian immigrants, Altidore was born in Livingston, New Jersey and raised in Boca Raton, Florida. He enjoyed playing soccer from the time he was a boy. Altidore played for various South Florida youth teams such as Boca Raton Juniors Soccer Club, Schulz Academy and Sunrise S.C while also spending time training with the under-17 national team at the IMG Academy in Bradenton. He was raised a Jehovah's Witness.
Altidore was taken seventeenth overall in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, with the MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls) trading up to receive the selection. Altidore spent the majority of the 2006 season away from the team while working towards his high school diploma in Florida.
Altidore made his professional debut on August 23, 2006, as a substitute in a 3–1 U.S. Open Cup loss to D.C. United. He scored his first professional goal at the age of sixteen with an 83rd minute, 28-yard shot to beat the Columbus Crew 1–0 on September 16, 2006. Exactly one week later, on September 23, 2006, in a 4–3 loss to D.C. United, Altidore scored again. Scoring three times in seven appearances, including a crucial goal against Chicago Fire on September 30, 2006, Altidore became a fan favorite. He scored the Red Bulls' only goal of their 2–1 aggregate loss to D.C. United in the Eastern Conference Semifinals Series when he headed in a cross in the second leg. With that goal, he became the youngest player to score in the Major League Soccer playoffs at 16 years, 337 days (breaking DaMarcus Beasley's record by almost three years). Altidore was also youngest to start in a Major League Soccer playoff match on October 21 against D.C. United (16 years, 349 days). He also scored two goals in a 5–4 win over Los Angeles Galaxy on August 18, 2007.
On June 4, 2008, Villarreal of La Liga agreed in principle with Major League Soccer and the New York Red Bulls to sign Altidore for roughly $10 million or €7.4 million. This transfer fee surpasses Fulham's fee for Clint Dempsey, which was $4 million or roughly £2 million, and is now the largest fee paid for any MLS player. Altidore finalized his personal contract and was unveiled by the club on June 11, 2008. On September 14, 2008, Altidore made his La Liga debut, coming on as a second-half substitute against Deportivo La Coruña. On November 1, 2008, he became the first American international to score in La Liga when he came on in the 90th minute and scored against Athletic Bilbao. On November 30, 2008, Altidore started his first game in La Liga against Recreativo Huelva. After spending a year and a half on loan, Altidore returned to Villarreal. He favored staying with Villarreal instead of another loan to try to prove to the club he was worth the investment they made two years ago.
On January 30, 2009, Villarreal agreed to loan Altidore to Xerez, leader of the Segunda División at the time of the transfer, until the end of the 2008–09 season. It was expected that the move would allow Altidore to get more playing time, and also allow him to continue the process of assimilating into the Spanish culture.
On April 16, 2009, Altidore underwent minor surgery on an injured toenail that required more than a month of recovery, resulting in him never making an appearance for Xerez.
On August 5, 2009, Altidore announced on his Twitter page that he would be loaned to English Premier League club Hull City. He joined Hull City the next day on a season-long loan with the option for Hull City to purchase his rights at the end of the 2009–10 season for a fee believed to be £6.5 million ($11 million).
On August 10, 2009, Hull City announced that they were successful in obtaining a work permit for Altidore. Altidore made his debut for Hull on August 22, 2009, coming on as a second-half substitute against Bolton. He provided the assist for Kamel Ghilas to score the only goal in a 1–0 home victory at the KC Stadium. On August 25, 2009, Altidore scored his first goal for Hull in a 3–1 win over Southend United in the second round of the League Cup. Altidore was popular with supporters but struggled to make a lasting impact with the Tigers as his finishing was often found wanting, however he did manage to score his first and only Premier League goal in the 2–1 home win over Manchester City on February 6. On April 24, in an important game for Hull City's Premier League survival, he was dismissed for violent conduct after a spat with Sunderland's Alan Hutton who was also sent off. Hull City lost 1–0 and were all but relegated from the top flight.
On January 31, 2011, Altidore was loaned out to Turkish champions Bursaspor on a six-month loan. On April 8, he scored his first goal for his new club in a 3–2 home loss to Antalyaspor.
On July 15, 2011, Altidore agreed to terms with Dutch side AZ.2011–12
On August 7, Altidore made his debut for the club as a second-half substitute against PSV Eindhoven. Altidore scored in the 80th minute, helping his new side to a 3–1 opening day win. Altidore was again used as a sub in the club's next Eredivisie game as AZ fell 2–0 to FC Twente. Altidore made his first start in the league for AZ on August 21, when they played host to NEC Nijmegen at the AFAS Stadion. After a goalless first-half, Altidore opened the scoring in the 54th minute, pouncing on the rebound after NEC goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen saved his header. Altidore scored again nineteen minutes later after some nice passing with Adam Maher and AZ ran out 4–0 winners.
On August 25, Altidore started in the second leg of the UEFA Europa League final qualifying match against Aalesunds FK from Norway. Before being substituted in the 63rd minute by Charlison Benschop, Altidore scored twice. His first goal in the 23rd minute gave AZ a 2–0 lead and his second goal in the 59th minute brought the score to 4–0 in a game AZ eventually won by 6–0. Altidore added to his Europa League account when he opened the scoring in the 21st minute of his side's first group match against Malmö FF on September 15. After a long wait Altidore returned to the score sheet for AZ, netting in the 83rd minute of a 3–0 victory over ADO Den Haag on November 6 that also secured his side's 10th victory of the Eredivisie campaign. On December 4, Altidore scored his side's only goal in a 5–1 loss to Heerenveen. Altidore had to wait until February 8, 2012 to score his next league goal, grabbing a brace in a 6–0 win over ADO Den Haag. The result put AZ level on points with PSV at the top of the table.
Altidore headed in the winning goal against VVV Venlo on Sunday April 22 to keep AZ second in the table and their title hopes still alive.
Altidore led the team in scoring in his first campaign with 22 goals across all competitions. He finished tied for seventh in the Eredivisie in goals scored. Altidore credits his successful campaign to his new coach, manager Gertjan Verbeek.2012–13
In the opening game of the new Eredivisie campaign, Altidore scored a quick brace as AZ drew 2–2 with reigning champions Ajax on August 12, 2012. Altidore continued his impressive start to the league campaign, netting another brace in the club's 3–1 victory over SC Heracles on the second weekend of the season. Following the international break, Altidore scored the first hat-trick of his club career on September 16, helping AZ to a 4–0 defeat of Roda JC.
Altidore powered his team to just their fourth victory in 17 games, and their first since October 28, netting a brace in a 2–1 defeat of PEC Zwolle on December 15. In the first game of 2013, Altidore hammered home 3 for the hat-trick against Vitesse Arnhem.
On April 14, Altidore netted his third hat-trick of the season in a 6–0 victory over FC Utrecht. On 9 May, he scored the winning goal against PSV in the KNVB Cup final, helping AZ to lift the Dutch Cup for the first time in 31 years. Subsequently, Altidore became the first-ever American to be named in De Telegraaf's "Team of the Season" after finishing with 23 goals in the Eredivisie and 8 in the KNVB Cup.
On July 5, 2013, AZ agreed to sell Altidore's contract to English Premier League club Sunderland, with whom he signed a four-year contract. It was eventually reported that Sunderland paid AZ a $13 million transfer fee. Altidore's first goal for Sunderland came on August 27, 2013, spurring a dramatic late comeback in the League Cup, defeating MK Dons 4–2. In Altidore's first Tyne-Wear derby, he put in a man of the match performance in a 2–1 win. On December 4, 2013, Altidore scored his first league goal for Sunderland to give them a 1–0 lead against Chelsea, a game which eventually finished 3–4. After failing to find the net again for Sunderland, Altidore was dropped to the Sunderland Under 21s instead of playing against Tottenham Hotspur on April 7, 2014.
Altidore ended the 2013–14 season with two goals in 37 appearances, and by October 2014, he had made just six appearances and scored one goal. Altidore told reporters, "If it doesn’t turn around then in January I’ll be looking to start elsewhere" to stay in the United States national team picture.
Altidore left Sunderland in January 2015 for Toronto FC of Major League Soccer. He finished his stay with three goals in 52 appearances in all competitions and one goal in 42 league games.
In January 2015, Sunderland agreed to send Altidore and an undisclosed fee to Toronto FC of Major League Soccer in exchange for Jermain Defoe. Toronto used its allocation spot and signed Altidore to a Designated Player contract. The New York Red Bulls, his former MLS team, were the league's preferred destination for Altidore, and tried to move up the allocation order through a trade with the Montreal Impact, who held the first allocation spot. However, Toronto was unwilling to accept the cash settlement from New York that was also required for the move. Altidore said his United States teammate Michael Bradley, who himself joined Toronto the previous season after playing in Europe, recruited him, and Bradley was seen on camera talking to Altidore about the club in July 2014, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. On his return to MLS, Altidore scored twice in his first game for Toronto, a 3–1 victory away to the Vancouver Whitecaps to start the 2015 season. On a return to BMO field for the 2015 season, Altidore scored the only goal off a header in a 2–1 defeat to the Houston Dynamo.
In the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup held in Canada, Altidore finished tied third in overall scoring with four goals. He scored three in the first round, one vs. Poland in Montreal and two vs. Brazil in Ottawa, and added a fourth goal vs. Austria in the quarterfinals in Toronto.
Altidore made his full international debut on November 17, 2007 in a friendly game away to South Africa. On February 7, 2008 he scored his first international goal by heading home a cross from Drew Moor in a friendly match against Mexico in Houston, Texas.
On March 28, 2009, Altidore scored his first away goal in World Cup Qualifying in the 2–2 draw with El Salvador. On April 1, 2009, Altidore scored three goals in a 3–0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago, making Altidore the youngest American to score a hat-trick in an international game.
On June 24, 2009, Altidore scored in the semi-final of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup against Spain, turning club teammate Joan Capdevilla to get a clear shot on Iker Casillas' goal. The U.S. went on to defeat the Spanish team, 2–0.
Altidore started at striker in all four of the United States' games in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, garnering only one assist with no goals scored.
Altidore suffered a hamstring injury at the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
On June 2, 2013, Altidore ended an almost two-year scoring drought by sinking the first goal in an international friendly against Germany. He subsequently scored in his next two international games against Jamaica and Panama, marking the first time that he has scored in three consecutive international games. Altidore then went on to score in a fourth consecutive game against Honduras in a World Cup Qualification match on June 18. Scoring in four consecutive matches tied Altidore all-time for most consecutive games with a goal by any USMNT player, joining a select group of players that includes Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson, Erik Wynalda, and William Lubbe.
On August 14, 2013, Altidore scored a hat-trick in the United States' 4–3 comeback win over Bosnia and Herzegovina, notably scoring from a free kick just outside the box with a curling effort. Altidore's three goals and an assist stretched his consecutive game scoring streak to 5 games, the most in U.S. national team history. On June 7, 2014, Altidore broke his goal-scoring drought with two goals against Nigeria, the defending Africa Cup of Nations champions.
On June 16, 2014, in the United States' opening 2014 FIFA World Cup match against Ghana, Altidore injured a hamstring and had to be carried from the field.
On March 31, 2015, Altidore received his first international red card for verbally abusing referee Luca Banti in an eventual 1–1 friendly draw against Switzerland in Zürich.
Altidore became the 17th American to reach 100 international caps on January 29, 2017 when he started in a goalless draw against Serbia. Only Landon Donovan had reached the milestone at a younger age than his 27 years.
In 2007, Altidore was a candidate for ESPN's Next Award and is one of the stars featured in Adidas' "Impossible is Nothing" advertisements. Altidore is featured on the cover of the North American version of FIFA 08 by EA Sports, alongside Ronaldinho and Guillermo Ochoa.
Following the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Altidore joined the relief effort by asking people to donate to Yéle Haiti. He appeared on CNN to discuss his family members still living in Haiti and to encourage people to give money.
In honor of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting a week earlier, Altidore wrote their names on the boots he wore in the game against FC Twente on December 21, 2012.
He is in a relationship with tennis player and 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens.As of match played September 9, 2017
As of September 1, 2017.
"Score" represents the score in the match after Altidore's goal. "Score" and "Result" list the United States' goal tally first. Last updated July 26, 2017.
Toronto FC:Eastern Conference Winners (Playoffs): 2016
Canadian Championship: 2016, 2017
Sunderland:Football League Cup Runner-up: 2013–14
AZ:KNVB Cup: 2012–13
U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year: 2006
U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year (2): 2013, 2016
MLS All-Star (2): 2015, 2017