AMSTERDAM – Though he narrowly missed out on joining the US team at World Cup in Brazil, Terrence Boyd did find the new challenge he wanted with a summer move to ambitious 2.Bundesliga outfit Red Bull Leipzig.
After racking up 37 goals with Rapid Vienna in his first two pro seasons (including an American record eight Europa League tallies), the forward spurned enticing offers from Portuguese giants Sporting CP and Wigan to hop the train to Leipzig.
Some may question passing up the prestige of Champions League entrants and player development masters Sporting, but this move is really about unfinished business. Born in Bremen, Boyd grew up imagining Bundesliga heroics.
He went on to excel in the Borussia Dortmund second team, making it is far as one bench appearance in a league match for the 2011-12 champs. But his path to playing time was well-blocked, pushing Boyd across the Austrian border to Rapid. Now, he can again chase the chance to play in the Bundesliga.
"I wanted to come back home to Germany," Boyd told MLSsoccer.com from his first preseason camp in the Red Bull shirt. "I think it's going to be a great step for me. There are many chances for me to grow with the club. My mission now is just to have a great season and develop every day."
Like Boyd, Red Bull Leipzig have been on the rise in recent years. In 2009, the energy drink company snapped up the fifth-division club, giving the teams in New York and Salzburg a new cousin. Three promotions later, they are knocking on the door of the top flight and spending like they intend to barge right through it.
In addition to the US goal shark, Die Roten Bullen have grabbed a handful of young talents and probably aren't done shopping. Long story short, Boyd believes he has grabbed the up elevator he always wanted with this transfer.
"They're going to be in the first league," he vowed without a hint of doubt in his voice. "If it's not this year, it's going to be next year. It's a big challenge and a big opportunity for me."
It's not just that the roster being built has him excited. Boyd reports the team are prepping to take the second division by storm. This won't be a defend-and-hope club by any stretch of the imagination, and he loves that proactive mindset.
"It's crazy right now, the tempo is so intense," he said of his first week of training with the squad. "Every practice, every match, our game is to run hard and challenge the defenders, pressing very high. Everyone is chasing the ball like there is no tomorrow, it's a great style of play. If you can get the ball in their half, everyone is disorganized and you can set up chances to score goals. It's perfect for me.
"At the end of the day, I have to play well and score goals if I want to start. I just have to get adjusted to some new runs to make and how you shift. But that is what training camp is for right now."
As for coming up short in the World Cup roster race, the youngster simply accepted Jurgen Klinsmann's decision and turned his head to the future. The move to Red Bull, the drive to finally reach the Bundesliga, it all plays into to Boyd's determination to make it past the provisional roster in 2018.
"When I found out I didn't make the team, I knew have to work harder to make it to Russia," he said. "And I will."
Boyd spent his summer sealing the move back to Germany and cheering on America's boys of summer from afar. Of course, the tournament ended with a disappointing close call for the US – which is exactly the type of event Boyd likes to use for thoughtful motivation for what will come next.
"In the Ghana game, I almost had a heart attack," he chuckled. "I was so proud. They really represented the States well, made some moments and gained some new fans to soccer.
"We still need to grow the game, but I think there will be even more people playing now, and more talent for the national team. That's what it's all about."