BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, January 10, 2011
As the US U-20 team progresses into the latter part of their World Cup cycle, one of the players who is having an exceptional camp this week in Ft. Lauderdale is 1860 Munich forward Bobby Wood.
Wood, 18, was last with the US team in May but 1860 Munich have since denied his release until now due to his growing stature within the club. When he last played for the U-20 team, Wood scored multiple goals and left US U-20 coach Thomas Rongen wanting more.
Now back with the US team, Wood has picked up where he left off scoring twice in a serious intra-squad match that impressed scouts and coaches that were in Florida for the MLS Combine.
Despite the rave reviews, the quiet and shy Wood is taking it in stride and is simply happy to have the chance to play for the national team again.
"It's nice. It's great to be home – great weather too," Wood told YA. "I like that a lot. It's been going well. . I am not 100% fit after the break but I am getting back. The break threw me off. It feels nice to represent my country."
While also emerging for the US U-20 team, Wood has enjoyed a huge transitional year for 1860. Prior to the start of the season, he was promoted to the reserve team while still occasionally playing for the club's U-19 team.
This past Thursday while in Florida, Wood received word from Munich that yet another promotion was in the works.
"It's been going well this season," Wood assessed. "I have scored six goals so far for the reserves and the U-19s. When I go back, I will be with the first team. I just got notified [on Thursday]. It will be tough but I am happy I got the chance and I will use that chance as best as I possibly can."
Wood's call-up to the first team represents a enormous opportunity for the Irvine, California native and he is confident that he can make the transition into the starting lineup in the near future.
"That's my goal just to [make the team] at first," Wood discussed. "Hopefully by summer I will be starting."
Now as a key player with both Munich and the U-20s, Wood believes that the two teams aren't far off in talent but the biggest obstacle for the national team is to develop chemistry which would lead to a more cohesive unit on the field.
"I'd say it's the same but maybe a little more physical," Wood said in comparison of the national team to 1860 Munich. "It's the same level but we just need to get more team chemistry because [so many] players are new. We're all good players but chemistry-wise and communication we just have to work together better."
Wood also pointed out one of the best attributes of this U-20 team compared to other teams is the wide variety of players that now are developing in many places throughout the world.
These different styles combined have led to a unique characteristic that separates this US team apart from everyone else and leaves them with a real chance at success at this summer's World Cup in Colombia.
"It's different," Wood concluded. "We have big physical players and we have technical players. We have a mixture and I think that's nice. I think we have a really good chance at the World Cup."