BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, March 12, 2013
After joining Rapid Vienna last summer, Terrence Boyd is adjusting the increased expectations of his first professional season and to life in the Austrian Bundesliga.
Boyd, 22, has put up impressive numbers in his first pro season where he appeared in 22 of Rapid's 25 league games including making 19 starts. So far, he has scored 11 goals and is the third leading scorer in the Austrian Bundesliga. On Saturday with Rapid trailing Mattersburg 2-0, Boyd scored an important goal that sparked a comeback en route to a 2-2 draw.
From a club standpoint, the situation at Rapid Vienna is not quite as good. Normally a perennial contender in the Austrian Bundesliga, Rapid currently sits in third place. They trail second place Salzburg by eight points and archrival Austria Vienna by 20 points. Right now, Rapid's holds a slim one point lead over Sturm Graz for third place which would earn them a spot in Europa League qualifying. Earlier this year, they were in the Europa League but failed to advance from group play.
"Personally it's been a good season for me now," Boyd told YA from Austria. "I've learned a lot of things. When you think about it, it's my first year as a professional. For the club, it hasn't been such a good year yet. It's kind of rough and the fans aren't really satisfied. But I see plenty of room where I can learn a lot more things and I've already gained a lot of experience. I played in the league and the Europa League. I didn't have these types of matches last year. I've seen new things this year, which is good."
The past year has indeed been a roller coaster for Boyd. Last February he made his US national team debut in a win over Italy. He also featured for the US U-23 team which was upset in the group stages of Olympic qualifying tournament and failed to advance to the London Games.
Despite that Olympic setback, Boyd continued to progress with his career. He finished the season strong with Borussia Dortmund's U-23 team but with the powerful German club loaded with quality forwards, he elected to sign a two year deal with Rapid Vienna where he could play regularly.
On the national team, Boyd has continued to be on head coach Jurgen Klinsmann's radar but has had to fight for playing time. He now has seven caps with the team but was not on the roster last month for the team's opening Hexagonal qualifier against Honduras.
Boyd is adamant that the experiences over the past year, both good and bad, have made him mentally stronger and a better player.
"It really went fast," Boyd said of the past year. "Last year I was playing for a reserve team. There have been a lot of changes and I've played [seven] games for the national team so far. I love being on the team. I'm definitely looking forward to hopefully getting back with the group soon. I want to score my first goal this year. That's for sure."
"I think I'm a different player now," he added. "I learned a lot of new things not only on the pitch but also mentally as well. I'm going through a lot of new stuff now and it helps you to grow as a player. It's not only the good things but it's even the bad things as well. Things like the crisis of the team, the fans that aren't satisfied, Europa League qualifiers, and all that stuff. We're under pressure but it's nice to experience these moments."
The US national team is set to take on Costa Rica and Mexico later this month and Boyd is eager to take part. Not selected for the opening Hexagonal qualifier, Boyd frustratingly watched on television the 2-1 loss against Honduras. He is well aware that the upcoming games are now crucial for the team's chances to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
It is not known yet if he will be on the roster for the upcoming games but Boyd is ready if called upon.
"It's very important now," Boyd said of the U.S. team's standing in World Cup qualifying. "We still have a lot of matches to go but that was a bad loss against Honduras. Our team is too good where we won't make it. I'm definitely looking forward to playing against Costa Rica and Mexico. I just really hope I can get an invitation to play in those games. If not, I'll just work harder. No matter what happens you have to keep improving yourself and keep on working. "
For now, however, Boyd is simply focused on the task at hand with Rapid Vienna. This Saturday the club has a chance to pick up valuable points when it hosts last place Admira.
Boyd is having a successful season on paper but he is far from satisfied. He realizes that he has the potential to be a truly dominant forward and he needs to convert even more opportunities than he has been. He has improved a lot the past year, but understands he has a long way to go.
"First pro season has been good but I'm still angry at myself because I left so many more chances out there," Boyd concluded. "I'm not satisfied. I could have had more goals. It's okay the way it is right now but it could be better. I will want to make it better in the next matches."