Postcard from Europe: Boyd off to flying start in Austria
AMSTERDAM – When Jurgen Klinsmann speaks, Terrence Boyd listens.
The budding US national team star is off to a flying start with his new team, Rapid Vienna, and as it turns out, his international coaches helped make it happen.
Heading into the final year of his Borussia Dortmund II contract this summer, the 22-year-old was suggested to the 32-time Austrian champs by former star Andreas Herzog, otherwise currently known as assistant coach to USMNT boss Klinsmann. The two men not only sold Die Grün-Weissen on Boyd, they sold the player on the club.
"[Herzog] said, 'It's going to be the perfect next step,'" Boyd told MLSsoccer.com by phone from Austria. "Klinsmann said the same thing. And up to this point, I can see this was a good decision. I can learn and I think the level is quite good. It's a good environment to get better."
Of course, Boyd – who earned his first international cap before he even played a first-team club match – wasted little time proving his career counselors wise.
After scoring an acrobatic consolation goal against Michael Bradley's AS Roma in his first friendly appearance last week, the goal shark stole the show with a double and an assist in Rapid's season-opening home rout of Wacker Innsbruck this past weekend.
His Rapid start has not gone unnoticed back in America.
"I got a message after the Roma game," Boyd said. "[Klinsmann] said it was a good start and to keep working. He was also happy after the [league debut]."
Klinsmann didn't just offer Boyd encouragement and praise, but also a grain of salty realism – not unlike the unpleasant reality check of Boyd's scintillating brace in March against El Salvador in the US Under-23s' ill-fated Olympic qualifying campaign that came to a crash in that very same game.
"He said, too, that now everyone is hyping me, but there will different times and to be ready for that," said Boyd. "When everything is not good and things aren't going right, you have to continue working and believe in yourself."
For now, though, he is the quick toast of the green-and-white portion of Vienna. The supporters, well-known in Europe for being heavily boisterous, voted Boyd Man of the Match on his debut. The feeling, it appears, is mutual.
"Roma was my first match and the people were going crazy," Boyd said enthusiastically. "There were only about 17,000 people there, but everybody was always chanting, so it was really nice."
However, that fanfare paled in comparison to the Gerhard Hanappi Stadium on Saturday. Boyd's second goal capped the scoring and earned Rapid the initial Austrian Bundesliga lead of the season.
"It was awesome," he declared. "We want to be champions this season, and it's a good first step. Everyone is happy, and I'm just happy to score goals and gain some confidence."
Early excitement aside, Boyd knows he and his teammates will need that belief to claim Rapid's first league crown since 2008. Apparently, someone has been listening well to his coaches.
"We're a pretty young team," explained Boyd, who says there isn't really much title talk in the clubhouse. "We have just four people over 26, so we don't feel much pressure. But we know what we want to achieve and just try to do our thing on the pitch."