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Your leading scorer in Dutch league: Jozy Altidore

PSV Eindhoven v AZ Alkmaar - Eredivisie

EINDHOVEN, NETHERLANDS - APRIL 14: Jozy Altidore of AZ Alkmaar celebrates scoring his teams first goal of the game during the Eredivisie match between PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar at Philips Stadion on April 14, 2012 in Eindhoven, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

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Remember when U.S. soccer leagues once looked overseas for the game-changers, lo scouring leagues in Europe and elsewhere for the stars around which to build their teams?

How’s this for a switcheroo? Because things do seem to be changing when Americans are leading one of Europe’s prominent leagues in scoring.

Jozy Altidore’s weekend hat trick for AZ Alkmaar has the U.S. international out front in the Dutch Eredivisie scoring race.

“It was a special day for me, but must importantly the team played very well,” Altidore said of the hat trick against Roda in the ESPN Soccernet report linked above.

Altidore has sometimes struggled to get a toehold at his various club addresses. But here’s the thing: he started so early that we tend to forget, the New Jersey native is only 22 years old. So if he didn’t come in and immediately set the soccer nation ablaze during stops in Villarreal, Hull City and elsewhere … well, was it really such a devastating turn?

At any rate, he did get that toehold last year – and then some. In his first season at AZ, Altidore led the team in scoring with 22 goals across all competitions. His 15 strikes in league play was good enough seventh in Eredivisie goal scoring.

So, expect us to check back often as Altidore completes his second season under manager Gertjan Verbeek.