BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, August 30, 2010
As the 2010-2011 season gets underway in Germany, one of the more promising young players that is hoping to emerge is 18 year old forward Bobby Wood who will begin the season with the 1860 Munich's U23 team.
Wood first began the transition across the Atlantic in 2006 through a contact he had in Munich.
After a successful trial with 1860, Wood has gradually risen through the club's organization at the U23 level which is just one level below the senior team. In recent weeks, he has also been invited to practice with the first team of 1860.
"Someone I knew in America had contact with 1860 Munich and I was allowed to try out for the club in the summer of 2006," Wood told YA. "The club liked me and said if I wanted to come it wouldn't be a problem. I thought it was a good opportunity to make it in Europe."
1860 Munich has a long history of having Americans within their system with Josh Wolff and Gregg Berhalter in recent years and presently with Kenny Cooper.
Wood has found the inclusion of Americans at his club to be helpful in his transition to Germany and he was actually joined by a compatriot who had played with him in his native Irvine, California.
"I moved to Munich with another American player Kovi Konowiecki which made it a lot easier," Wood discussed. "It helped a lot. It was nice always having someone there to talk to that was in the same situation as me."
Wood has been successful at 1860 largely because of his speed and versatility to play at many of the attacking positions across the field. Now he will hope that these same skills will allow him to succeed following his promotion to the U23 team.
"I usually play on the right or left side or as a forward," Wood said of his playing style. "I like to get the ball into space and try to use my speed as an advantage. I also like to take players on and create chances."
Wood's time at 1860 Munich has also earned him a call up to the US U20 national team. He most recently played for the US at the Cor Groenewegen Tournament in Holland in May. Looking back at the tournament, Wood considered it a success.
"It went really well," Wood assessed. "I scored two goals during the tournament in Holland. I had a lot of fun. It was an honor playing for my country. I would love to do it again"
Wood is not the only person who felt the tournament went well for him.
U20 head coach Thomas Rongen indicated that Wood was one of the best players for the US during the tournament and all throughout the camp in Holland.
Rongen further went on to add that he would like to use Wood in future U20 camps and tournaments as they prepare for next year's U20 World Cup in Colombia.
Wood is now clearly in the mix to earn as spot on the U20 World Cup team that includes many talented forwards such as Tristan Bowen, Juan Agudelo, Adrian Ruelas, Jack McInerney, and Omar Salgado.
However he will find it difficult to play with the US team because 1860 will be reluctant to release him.
Wood was recently asked by Rongen to take part in the upcoming Cuadrangular Internacional Tournament in Peru but his commitments to 1860 Munich prevailed.
Wood attributes his rise within the US system directly to his move to Germany and his willingness to take his game to one of the top youth developmental countries in the world.
He feels the quality and competitiveness of the German soccer culture has made him into the player he is now.
"Before I moved to Munich, I was never good enough for the national team," Wood concluded. "I was never called up or I was not even known, but now it seems like the sacrifices are paying off. Ever since I have moved to Munich I have developed so much as a player and person."