Terrence Boyd insists he has wanted to come to Major League Soccer for a very long time, but the stars never aligned for him to make the move – until now.
Toronto FC general manager Ali Curtis recently reached out to Boyd to see if the forward had any interest in making the move to MLS. The rest, as they say, is history. TFC completed the deal this week to bring the U.S. international over from SV Darmstadt 98, a club that plays in Germany’s second division.
Now, at age 27, Boyd will finally get a chance to suit up in MLS.
“A few weeks ago, Ali Curtis approached me and my agent. When I first heard about it I said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it!’ It took a while to get done because Darmstadt had to find a replacement for me. So, it was tough at moments, but at the end of the day, we managed to find a solution for everyone. I’m just relieved that I get the chance now to come here and play in MLS,” Boyd told Sportsnet.
The German-born Boyd, who has 14 caps with the U.S. national team, has spent his entire career playing in Germany and Austria, turning out for such outfits as RB Leipzig and Rapid Wien. He also spent time with the reserve teams of Hertha Berlin and Borussia Dortmund.
Boyd left RB Leipzig in January 2017 for Darmstadt, where he scored five goals and tallied two assists in 44 games in all competitions, his opportunities for playing time somewhat hampered by injury problems. Having fallen out of favour, Boyd was looking to leave Darmstadt in order to get his career back on track. TFC presented him with that chance.
“I wasn’t a starter there, so it wasn’t satisfying for me. You want to play and to score goals. Sometimes in soccer, you have coaches who don’t really like and don’t want to play you. That’s how it was at Darmstadt for me,” Boyd admitted.
Why did it take Boyd, who made his debut of the U.S. national team in 2012, so long to come to MLS?
“At first, it didn’t feel right. At times, I had some opportunities [to play in MLS] back in the day, but I wanted to showcase myself in Europe. Then when I transferred to Leipzig, it didn’t work out because I tore my ACL and I was out for a long time. Then I met my girlfriend, and we have a daughter now, and she didn’t want to leave Germany. So, things never really lined up to come to MLS until now. When I first heard of TFC’s interest, and considering my situation at Darmstadt, there wasn’t anything to think about. It was the right time to come to MLS,” Boyd stated.
Born in Bremen, Germany, Boyd is the son of a German mother and an American father who was a soldier stationed there. He’s spent very little time in the U.S. and grew up in Germany, where he fell in love with soccer as a young boy before going on to pursue a pro career. Understandably, he has mixed feelings about leaving his birth nation.
“Germany is where I learned to play football. I had a good education at Hertha Berlin and Dortmund. My coach at Dortmund was [former Huddersfield Town manager] David Wagner. Then I was brought up through Leipzig and I learned a lot there, but when the [knee] injury came, that’s when everything went downhill. I didn’t get a real chance to showcase myself, so that’s why I’m happy to come to MLS. This is a chance to show what I can do,” Boyd offered.
Things didn’t exactly go smoothly for him at Darmstadt, either, but he did get a chance to play for coach Torsten Frings, a childhood idol and a former TFC captain.
“He brought me in. I knew him because my hometown is Bremen and he used to play for Werder Bremen, so he was a big name to me. As a kid, I use to watch Frings play all the time. He’s a cool dude. … He was a player who had the biggest set of balls on the pitch,” Boyd said.
In adding Boyd, TFC has bolstered its options at the forward position in the aftermath of the sale of Sebastian Giovinco to Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal.
However, it should be noted that Boyd is not a replacement for Giovinco. TFC was working on this deal independent of its recent attempts to re-sign Giovinco to a new deal, and Boyd is seen as a depth player for coach Greg Vanney. You can think of Boyd as more of a replacement for Tosaint Ricketts, the Canadian forward who parted ways with TFC during the off-season.
Boyd has never been a prolific scorer, although he did bag 37 goals and tallied 11 assists with Rapid Wien from 2012 to 2014. He’s not expected to score for TFC at the same rate Giovinco did, but Boyd does share a common trait with the Italian: A strong will to win.
“Off the field, I’m kind of like a clown; I don’t take life that seriously. But on the pitch, I think of myself as a monster. I’m one of those guys who presses the defenders to try to force them to make mistakes, and just puts my body into everything. I just go out and kill people in the name of the team. You will see,” Boyd promised.
“For me after the game, it’s about looking in the mirror and being able to say I gave it everything I had. If the goals follow, that would be perfect.”