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Boca Raton Soccer Prodigy Meets Match in English Premier League

Jozy Altidore, the teenager from Boca Raton who was one of the heroes of America's improbable run in the FIFA Confederations Cup this past summer, will not meet many of his countrymen this season. That's because he's playing in Europe's elite first division, where the best American players tend to be overwhelmed..

The Los Angeles Times devoted a feature story to Altidore this weekend, as the 19-year-old begins his career with Hull City, a club that only recently has played well enough to earn promotion to the first division and which is counting on promising youngsters like Altidore to keep it there.

Yet the son of Haitian immigrants who met on a bus in Orange, N.J., lives temporarily in a modest hotel where the staffers all know him and chirp when he phones, "Hey, Jozy, what'll it be this time?" His BMW arrived from Spain, so he drives on the left with a steering wheel on the left ("I'm always hitting the curb."). He's absorbing everything while craving American morsels such as the upcoming NFL game in London two hours south, maybe a Jay-Z show in London and definitely the urge to stay up late for Lakers-Cavaliers games, his fondness for Kobe Bryant owing to Bryant's not being "a soccer hater."

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Thomas Francis

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