BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, November 8, 2011
As the US U-23 national team camp gets underway in Duisburg, Borussia Dortmund forward Terrence Boyd is expected to be an integral part after beginning to breakout with the defending Bundesliga champions.
Boyd, 20, left Hertha Berlin in May after scoring 13 goals in 32 games last season for the club's U-23 team.
This season has seen him continue to improve as he has scored nine goals in the first 12 games for Dortmund's U23 team. This impressive start has seen first team head coach Jurgen Klopp recently call up Boyd to the first team for a league game against Cologne. While he did not get into that game, it is further evidence that Boyd is an emerging talent within the elite club.
"I'm getting better very quickly," Boyd told YA from Dortmund. "The circumstances at Dortmund are very good. I've got a great coach [with the U-23 team] in David Wagner, an American, and he wants to make me a professional. We're a good team and I made the bench for the first team. It's a good sign from the first team coach that he called me up once. I didn't get in but it's nice to see what it's like."
Boyd is very reluctant to set a specific timeline as to when he would like to make his first team debut but he is confident that it is coming in the future.
Right now he is taking things game by game for Dortmund knowing that important decisions on his future could be made in upcoming winter break or after the season in May.
"But I don't like to talk about when I want to be pro," Boyd said bluntly. "I'll just give my best and collect my goals and assists. Right now I am just focused on having good matches. At the end of the season, or maybe over winter - then we can talk. First of all I just want to do my job and then we can think about [if I am] going to be loaned or whatever I'm going to do next season."
When Boyd recently received a callup to the US U23 team, he had a discussion with David Wagner about trying to make US team for the Olympics next year.
Wagner and Boyd share a similar background as both were born in Germany to an American father who served in the US military. Wagner played for the US national team in the late 1990's under Steve Sampson.
Now the head coach for Dortmund's U-23 team, Wagner has helped Boyd's career as both a coach and a motivator. Prior to Boyd heading to Duisburg to join the US team, Wagner reminded him to stay focused.
"He's cool because he's very motivated," Boyd said of Wagner. "He gets everything out of us. The training is great and he really knows [soccer]. I am happy to have such a coach. He told me just to focus and don't think I've achieved anything yet. He was also happy for me because he used to play for the States."
Despite being born an American citizen, it wasn't until this past spring when Boyd finally obtained his US passport. Former US U-20 head coach Thomas Rongen had wanted to call him into U-20 camps in 2010 but was unable to due to the passport issues.
When Boyd finally obtained his US passport, he was immediately called into the US U-20 team in May for a series of friendlies against France.
Since the US U-20 team failed to make the World Cup, American youth national teams at both the U-20 and U-23 levels have been inactive since May. Recently however, the programs are back as US Soccer hired Tab Ramos to coach the U-20 team and Caleb Porter to coach the U-23 team.
Now on the verge of making his first team debut with Borussia Dortmund, Boyd is expected to become an important part of the US U-23 team as it moves forward towards Olympic qualifying in March.
Making the Olympic team is primary goal for Boyd and he is determined to represent the United States next summer at the 2012 games in London.
"I'm very happy," Boyd proudly stated. "For me it's a big opportunity. I was just waiting for this moment. I just wanted to get invited to one camp and get a fair chance to make it onto the Olympic team. Now I have it and it's now my fault if I don't make it onto the Olympic team. If I don't train well, it's my fault. But I'll do my best and I'll give everything."
Boyd is part of a growing German presence within the US youth systems at any level. The current US national team roster consists of five players born in Germany and the US U-23 team has six players either born or raised there.
Among Boyd's closest friends are US U-23 players Jerome Kisewetter and John Anthony Brooks who will both be in Duisburg. Prior to this season the three were at Hertha Berlin and the US camp will serve as a reunion for the trio.
"I can't wait to see them again," Boyd said. "We had a great time at Hertha Berlin. We still always talk about how we're doing. They're all good guys."
Another one of his close friends from his Hertha days is Alfredo Morales who has begun to earn Bundesliga minutes this year with the club. While Morales will likely be on the US Olympic team moving forward, he was selected by US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to be on his roster for the upcoming friendlies against France and Slovenia.
While Morales accepted the US callup, his national team allegiance wasn't clear in recent months despite the fact he played in the past for the US U-20 team. Morales was born in Germany but his father was born in Peru before he immigrated to the United States.
Peru's soccer federation has been public about their interest in getting Morales to suit up for them and Boyd remembers speaking with Morales about the issue a few weeks ago. Boyd urged his friend to join him and play for the US team and is happy both are with the Stars and Stripes.
"I was talking to Alfredo [two] weeks ago and I was like, 'Dude, you can't do that!'" Boyd recalled of his conversation with Morales about playing for Peru. "I was hoping that he was going to play for the States over Peru. He was invited, and I am happy he is on the team."
For all the Germany-born players like Boyd and Morales, they are eager to impress and catch the eye of Klinsmann and work their way into his plans. They saw how he implemented a plan for player development into German soccer when he was their national team coach in 2005-2006 and many of them developed under this plan.
For Boyd, he is excited for the future of US Soccer under the German legend.
"People are talking good and bad about him," Boyd concluded. "When Low was the assistant under Klinsmann, they had a plan and finally it works. He hired fitness coaches from the States. It was criticized but I think he has improved the players. That's what he's known for - the athletics. I think in the end, if he gets the chance to coach for a few years then we will see him put a great team together for the next World Cup."
The US U-23 national team opens their first camp this week in the run up to Olympic qualifying. The camp will run through November 16.