US Forward Jozy Altidore Cleared to Play Against Belgium

The 24-year-old striker was injured in the team's first game against Ghana.

— -- Haitian-American Jozy Altidore was supposed to have a great World Cup, but he was injured in the team's first game against Ghana.

Despite being substituted in the first half against Ghana on June 16 in Natal after pulling his left hamstring, Altidore was sidelined for the USA's other two games against Portugal and Germany.

Altidore practiced with the team today in Salvador, ahead of the USA's round of 16 game against Belgium on Tuesday, and worked extensively with a team trainer before joining his teammates. It remains to be seen whether US coach Jurgen Klinsmann will start the striker.

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Altidore, 24, originally from Livingston, New Jersey, got his start in professional soccer with the NY/NJ MetroStars, now known as the New York Red Bulls, at just age 16.

In 2008, Spanish club Villarreal signed him for $10 million, pitting him against some of the world's best players. Altidore, who now plays for the English Premier League club Sunderland, played for Villarreal until 2011, followed by two years at AZ Alkmaar, a club in the Netherlands.

He’s known as one of soccer’s best strikers, but his critics have questioned his skills and consistency. Altidore went through a long scoring drought with the national team, a streak he broke in a friendly recently against Nigeria before the start of the World Cup.

The youngest of four children, he has called his mom and dad, who are from Haiti, his biggest inspirations.

Altidore is often linked to the Caribbean country -- he wears a wristband bearing both the Haitian and American flags during every game and in 2006 went on a service trip to Haiti with rapper Wyclef Jean.

After the catastrophic earthquake of 2010, he was active helping to raise money for victims in Haiti, where many of his relatives live.

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