Altidore donates for Copa America matches to be shown in Haiti
Jozy Altidore may not be involved with Copa America Centenario as he recovers from a hamstring injury, but that doesn't mean he won't be making an important impact this summer.
Altidore and his foundation are ensuring that those in Haiti can watch Copa America matches, teaming with the St. Luke Foundation to deliver television coverage of Haiti's matches, the USA's matches and the tournament semifinals and final to the island nation.
Altidore's foundation is funding the initiative, which includes watch parties at multiple locations around Haiti that the St. Luke Foundation will arrange, host and supervise. Projection screens will be transported from Miami to Haiti, where the matches would not otherwise be available to be seen for a vast majority of the impoverished nation. The parties will also feature small-sided matches along with food and beverages. Matte Projects, a New York-based film company, will be capturing the images on the ground for a future documentary. Regardless of Altidore's injury status this summer, this initiative was always going to be taking place.
"When Haiti qualified I just thought it'd be a cool thing, because they haven't qualified for a major tournament since the World Cup (in 1974)," Altidore, whose parents are from Haiti, told SI.com via telephone. "I thought this would be something cool knowing how much Haitian people love their national team ... to have thousands of people who otherwise wouldn't be able to see the matches broadcast the group games and see them perform."
Haiti is in Copa America's Group B and will play Peru (June 4), Brazil (June 8) and Ecuador (June 12).
"I think they can surprise some people, and hopefully they do," said Altidore, who said that he is eyeing a return ahead of the 6-8 week timetable announced by Toronto FC.
The USA, sans Altidore, opens Group A play against Colombia on June 3 followed by games against Costa Rica on June 7 and Paraguay on June 11.
Altidore, who suffered his hamstring injury just prior to Jurgen Klinsmann's roster deadline, has been part of a number of charity initiatives regarding Haiti, where he still has extended family and friends. His foundation raised money to assist in the relief effort following the 2010 earthquake that ravished the nation. In 2014, his foundation worked with Generosity Water to build a well and provide clean water for a village of more than 400 people.
"There's a lot of people in Haiti that aren't going to be able to watch the games, a lot of areas where they can't physically see the game," Altidore said. "To watch their heroes in action ... it will give their players a boost as well."