ORLANDO, Fla. – He’s the only member of the current US national team camp who doesn’t even play with the first team at his club. Yet Terrence Boyd has made the cut.
The 21-year-old Borussia Dortmund II striker was named on Friday to Jurgen Klinsmann’s final 23-man squad ahead of the USMNT’s debut in 2014 World Cup qualifying. And the young German-American is well aware he’s in rare air.
“If you look at it like that, it’s really surprising,” Boyd admitted to MLSsoccer.com earlier this week in a break from camp. “I’m just happy that they recognize me and my work and now I just want to rock this thing.”
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Despite his club situation, Boyd has been making waves of late in the US set-up. Originally called into the Under-20 team last year, the Bremen-born Boyd graduated to the U-23s last fall in their preparation for Olympic qualifying.
He then made his senior debut in February, coming on a substitute in the US’ 1-0 victory over Italy in Genoa. But ironically, it was perhaps his toughest experience in a USA kit that made Boyd feel more American than anything else.
Despite his two goals against El Salvador in their group-stage finale in Olympic qualifying in March, the Salvadorans rallied for a stunning 3-3 draw that knocked the Americans out of the tournament and scuppered their trip to London this summer.
It was a humbling experience for a young competitor who has just as tough a time accepting a loss in intrasquad scrimmages as he does Olympic qualifiers.
“Everything makes you stronger,” Boyd said. “These are things to learn from. Soccer can be hard and it’s not always fair.”
Boyd, who spent time in New York City as a baby but returned with his mother to Germany after his parents divorced, knows all too well about moving on. He says that the loss of his grandfather last year has helped put things into perspective.
“At the end of the day, you realize it’s just a game,” Boyd said. “Of course when I go out on the pitch, I give everything. Especially for the USA, I’m fighting until I die because I really love this country and I’d give everything for it. But soccer is supposed to be fun.”
When his professional career comes to a close, he says he’d love to move to the United States and experience the things he missed out on while growing up in Germany. But he’s still got plenty of years ahead of him on the pitch for both club and country.
That saga continues during this international break, starting with Saturday’s friendly against Scotland in Jacksonville (8 pm ET, NBC Sports Network, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com), the first of five games for the US. Boyd is competing for minutes in a deep striker pool that includes Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Jozy Altidore, Herculez Gomez and Chris Wondolowski.
“The training itself is challenging,” Boyd said. “What I really like about it is that it’s quick football. It makes me better because there are certain things I’ve still got to work on like knowing where the ball needs to go before you even get it.”
His aggressiveness, ball movement and play in the box may have earned him a spot on this US roster, but his passion for success may keep him around for years to come.
“I’m just trying to do my thing, and at the end of the day we’ll see what comes out of it,” Boyd said. “The will to win a game can move mountains. That’s the way I play and that’s what I’m trying to do right now.”