By FRANCO PANIZO
ORLANDO, Fla. — When Terrence Boyd found out he would start in the U.S. men's national team's friendly against Scotland last week, he could not help but smile. Boyd was happy as can be knowing he would get a big chance to prove his worth in just his second cap with the United States, and he called his parents to share his excitement.
Exciting times like that one have been the norm during the last few months for the German-American striker, who has gone from a relatively unknown player playing with the Borussia Dortmund reserves to being considered one of the top talents in the U.S. pipeline.
Consider that in just the last six months Boyd has gone from being a striker on the U.S. U-23 men's national team to getting his first cap with the full team in February in a historic win over Italy, to starting his first match for the latter against Scotland this past Saturday. It's been a whirlwind few months, but that's not enough to satisfy Boyd's hunger.
"It's going pretty fast, and it should keep on like this," said Boyd. "That's what I always wanted and worked for. It's still surprising that I'm here right now, but I just give everything. I don't look (back) at it. I'll lay back when I'm back home and have vacation, then okay I can say 'It's been a good year now,' but I just keep on working then we'll see what's going on."
While Boyd is not looking back on his recent success yet, he is looking ahead in terms of his club situation. Boyd and his agent, Konstantin Liolios, are in current discussions with several clubs (including Austrian outfit Rapid Vienna) about a potential move that could see the 21-year-old make his professional debut at the club level.
Yes, the forward who is continuing to raise his profile in American soccer circles has yet to make a first-team appearance with his club. He spent the past season playing for Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund's reserves, and although he fared well with that team in the Regionalliga (fourth division) by scoring 20 times and helping the club gain promotion, he believes his future lies elsewhere.
"It is done," said Boyd of his time with Borussia Dortmund. "I could come back, but to be honest if you just look at it right now, Borussia wants to extend my contract to like three or four years, but then I'll be like striker No. 3 or 4. And they're buying a new one now, too. I'm coming from the second team and I don't feel like I'm getting a real fair shot."
Boyd is hoping to claim a starting spot wherever he winds up, and his combination of size, speed and skill should give him a good chance to do so at several clubs. In fact, those traits are part of the reason why Boyd earned a surprise call-up to the U.S. men's national team's friendly in Italy.
"His work rate (is) outstanding and his hunger for finishing off chances is tremendous," said U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. "It's something that we really love to see. That's why we keep working with him and giving him those opportunities."
Boyd also got an opportunity to be part of the U.S. U-23 Olympic qualifying team in March, and although he fared well there, the team did not. Boyd scored twice in the final group stage match versus El Salvador, but that was not enough to assure the Americans advancement into the next round.
For Boyd, the disappointment of failing to qualify for the Summer Games still lingers.
"We were talking about it too, Juan (Agudelo) and Joe Corona, we were like 'We still can't believe we didn't make it,'" said Boyd. "For me, it's like the worst thing that's ever happened to me in my little career that's been lasting for two years now. We thought we were going to make it somehow anyway, because with our players we had the best players. It's just a shame."
Boyd may look back on that tournament in pain, but he was his usual cheerful self when describing how he thought he fared in the win over Scotland this past Saturday. In the 5-1 victory, Boyd showed off his work rate, ability to shoot with both feet and habit of getting into dangerous spots in the attacking third.
He was a little slow in his decision-making in front of goal, but he readily admits that and still feels he did well overall.
"I think I did a good performance," said Boyd. "I could have been clever on some situations when I could have shot, but it's okay. It's experience. You learn from it . Next game you'll be a bit clever and you'll score more goals."
Boyd's next potential chance to do that might be as difficult as they come. The U.S. team takes on Brazil on Wednesday at FedEx Field in Landover, Md, and Boyd could be given a second straight start due to Jozy Altidore's recent arrival in camp.
Boyd will need to take everything he's learned in the past few months and apply them if he does suit up against the tougher Brazil side. Should he manage to do that and build on his performance against Scotland, he might have another reason to call his parents with exciting news.