Postcard from Europe: Terrence Boyd "definitely USA"
AMSTERDAM — Borussia Dortmund II strike ace Terrence Boyd has spent most of his first season at the club adeptly displaying two valuable soccer items: goals and patience.
The 21-year-old Bremen native, whose father is an American serviceman, has hit for 11 goals in 17 Regionalliga West matches, including an impressive half-dozen in nine away starts.
Combining power with agility, Boyd plays like a goal shark. With most clubs, he'd have been moved to the first team already, but this youngster understands his place behind international stars like Lucas Barrios of Paraguay and Poland's Robert Lewandowski in a Dortmund system that plays but one striker between wingers.
"I'm training with the pros two times a week," Boyd told MLSsoccer.com by phone from Dortmund on Tuesday. "If somebody gets injured, I might get a chance. I just have to keep on working. I think, one day, I'll get my chance and I hope that I will use it."
Though BvB boss Jürgen Klopp and staff haven't given him particular training assignments for reaching Bundesliga readiness, he says splitting time between the senior side and the fourth-division second team has given him a clear indication of the gulf he's attempting to cross.
"They are the German champs, so the level is so high," Boyd explained. "It's not that I have to work on certain things — I have to make it better on every facet and specific skill.
"Personally, I've been working more on technique. But when you train with [Barrios and Lewandowski], it just makes you better — or when you train against Neven Subotić, a real high-class defender," he added.
The contrast in quality wears him out.
"It's a big difference between training with the pros and the reserves," he said before pausing to chuckle. "After that practice, I am quite tired!"
On Wednesday, Boyd's drive for the Dortmund first team pitted him in Regionalliga play against Kaiserslautern II, and fellow German-American goal scorer Andrew Wooten. The two strikers are pals, but also find themselves in competition for a US Olympic place.
"We're friends," said Boyd. "We get along. We write or call to ask how the other is doing or something. I also enjoy being in [Olympic] camp with him."
After the midweek league tilt in which both scored in Dortmund II's 2-1 win, Boyd is the one who will fly to join up with Caleb Porter's latest Under-23 gathering. Next Wednesday, he will hope to play in his first border war when the U-23s host Mexico for a "friendly" in Frisco, Texas.
"I don't really know about the rivalry with Mexico, but I will see it," he stated. "I don't care about who you're playing, though. If you play for your country, you always give it 100 percent, you know?"
Of his two countries, though, Boyd is only now becoming familiar with the one belonging to the shirt he now hopes to wear in London. He greatly enjoyed the American lifestyle during an extended camp in Florida late last year and can't wait to check out Texas.
"My family is from Queens, N.Y.," said Boyd. "I left there as a baby. I was born in Germany, but I lived in New York when I was one year old for about a year. I've been back two times, once back in New York and once on vacation in Charleston, S.C."
His US youth international career kicked off with an U-20 friendly against France last year, after which he was invited to compete for an Olympic place. At first, he accepted with some reservations. During the initial camp in Duisburg, Germany, last November, however, he was a quick convert to the chase for summer gold.
"Now, I'm getting really excited," said Boyd, perking up. "We have a good team, the depth of the team is really strong. Our attack, in every position, has the quality to make problems. Hopefully, we qualify and [have] a good tournament."
And as he finds himself battling to make the field for another good team, Boyd is calm to the fact that he is on another wait filled with work. One look at the camp roster shows both the fine company he'll keep in Texas and plenty of potential aces like Wooten hoping for a later turn.
"I really like Juan Agudelo, he's a very good striker, but we are all there for the same reason: to fight for a spot," he declared. "I'll do everything to make sure I'm on the qualifying team and help the US qualify for the Olympics."
That all sounds great, and Boyd clearly knows what he's up against to make a pair of exciting first teams. But there's just one question lingering: What would happen if Germany suddenly summoned him to a camp?
"If the Under-21s called me, just for a camp or something, maybe I would just try it," he said. "But if it was a camp for a real match, I would choose USA. I wouldn't play for Germany. I'm definitely USA now."