Andrew Wooten Would Consider U.S. Call an Honor
The 25-year-old German-American is on a tremendous run of form for Sandhausen, where he is the only player to score for his club since August 22. Brian Sciaretta has more on the streaky striker
BY Brian Sciaretta PostedIT HAS BEEN a difficult start to the European season for most American forwards. Jozy Altidore can hardly get off the bench for Sunderland while injuries have shelved Aron Johannson and Terrence Boyd. For Andrew Wooten, however, the story has been the complete opposite. Wooten turned 25 on September 30th and it was truly a month to celebrate as he scored goals in every one of Sandhausen’s four games during the month. More impressive, all of the goals came within 10 minutes of the final whistle and three were match winners. “The feeling was very good,” said Wooten, who is the only Sandhausen player to score since August 22. “It was a mix from being happy and being relieved.” In Sandhausen’s most recent game, Eintrach Braunchweig held a 2-0 lead into second-half stoppage time. Wooten cut the deficit in half when he converted a penalty. With one of the final kicks of the game, Wooten nearly found an equalizer when his shot rattled off the post. Wooten has no explanation as to why he has been so dominant at the end of games lately but he isn't complaining. “[I can’t] really explain why it always happens at the end of a game,” Wooten said. “I prefer to score late before never—but happy to score in the first minute, too. But maybe it is simple worked hard in the preseason and with the first games I feel better and better. Now I can work 90 minutes and so it could be that I am 100% fit right now and it is only the result of work on the pitch now and the preseason before.” Sandhausen is a very comfortable environment for Wooten in part because he has a coach who he is very familiar with and one who believes in him. Alois Schwartz has been Sandhausen’s coach since 2013 but from 2007-2012 he was the coach of Kaiserslautern II (with a brief stint in 2009 as the interim first-team coach) where Wooten first began to attract attention. In three seasons starting with the 2010-11 campaign, Wooten scored 38 goals in 56 games for Kaiserslautern II with the best season coming in 2011-12 when he notched 20 goals in 24 appearances. Despite that impressive scoring rate, Wooten found first-team minutes difficult to come by and it wasn’t until a loan to Sandhausen in 2012-13 that he began to see first-team minutes. Now back with Sandhausen on a full-time basis and playing under Schwartz again, Wooten is optimistic and confident at this stage of his career. Sandhausen is one of the smaller teams in Germany’s 2.Bundesliga and survival in the league is the primary goal – but it is a goal Wooten believes the team can achieve. “I try to become better and better,” Wooten said. “I have a good coach, Alois Schwarz, who has known me a long time and he supports me to become better. Our important common goal is to stay in second Bundesliga with the club after this season. I hope I can support the team with my way of playing the game—hopefully with many goals.” Given his late-game heroics, there has been speculation that Wooten would be on the upcoming U.S. national team roster—especially given the injuries to other forwards. Also, Jurgen Klinsmann has been willing to call up others from the 2.Bundesliga, including Alfredo Morales and Bobby Wood. That, however, appears unlikely as Wooten said this week that he has not been in contact with U.S. Soccer. “Unfortunately I've heard nothing,” he said. Despite not being on the radar as of yet, Wooten is still not discouraged and insists that he will continue to work hard to catch Klinsmann’s eye. “The national team is a big dream for a long, long time,” Wooten said. “I try to do my best and score as much as possible. I hope I get the honor one day to be invited to the team.” Wooten was born and raised in Germany and holds dual nationality through his father who served in the U.S. military and was stationed in Germany. Wooten lived in Virginia for a year as a teenager and enjoyed it but returned to Germany as he began to blossom as a soccer player. He has only represented the United States briefly in 2011 for U-23 camps in the run-up for the Olympics but was not part of the failed qualification campaign in 2012. He recalls the brief time representing the United Sates fondly and says that it motivates him to this day. “I can't miss it really because I never played many times,” Wooten said. “It was always fun and an honor being invited. It was a good experience to be member of the team. 'Missing' is not the right word. I would be happy to play for the team. But I will all do that I [can to] get a chance one day to play.” Brian Sciaretta is an American Soccer Now columnist and an ASN 100 panelist. Follow him on Twitter.
October 04, 2014
October 04, 2014