Player Spotlight

Terrence "Cyclops" Boyd Is Now Terrorizing Defenses

The affable German-American striker is on a roll with Rapid Vienna, and his timing could not be better. ASN's Brian Sciaretta spoke with Boyd about the Europa League, the World Cup, and tattoos.
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
May 07, 2014
2:55 PM
A MONTH AGO it appeared that Terrence Boyd was on the outside looking in for the 30-man provisional World Cup roster Jurgen Klinsmann is scheduled to announce next week.

The competition at forward, after all, appeared to be very tight. Jozy Altidore and Aron Johannsson were locks. Eddie Johnson was fresh off inking his “designated player” contract with D.C. United. Juan Agudelo was breaking into Utrecht’s lineup and Chris Wondolowski finally began to translating his MLS scoring to the international game.

Fast forward to May and Boyd, 23, is red hot and his stock is soaring. The German-born American has scored five goals in his past three games, helping Rapid Vienna clinch second place and a spot in the 2014/15 Europa League.

"Right now I’m finding my game,” Boyd told American Soccer Now. “I am getting calmer when I get the ball during games. It’s just a routine you get if you play games. Of course it’s the same with the confidence you get when you score goals. Right now I am just enjoying that I’m on a hot streak. I’m having a great run of form. I feel like I’m playing my best football right now.”

Boyd is indeed peaking at the right time. With his goal in Rapid’s 2-0 win over Innsbruck on Saturday, he has now scored 19 goals in all competitions this season. He has played a total of 2,551 minutes between the Europa League and the Austrian Bundesliga and he is scoring at a terrific rate of one goal for every 134 minutes. With one game remaining, Boyd has the potential to become one of the rare Americans to score 20 in a season.

Last year, Boyd scored 17 in all competitions for Rapid in what was his first season as a first-team professional. While the goal-scoring numbers are roughly the same, he insists he has notably improved in the area of “handling the ball,” and stressed that “my game with the ball got better and with combinations also.”

The fact that he has proven himself in consecutive seasons means that he could be more appealing to bigger clubs in the upcoming transfer window.

“The good thing is that I think I’m getting consistent now with my goal scoring,” Boyd explained. “It helps me that I didn’t make a move after one year. I got my playing time in a first league. You can’t take it for granted that I played in the Europa League for two years in a row now. It’s not that easy to play in the Europa League.”

Since being hired as United States head coach, Jurgen Klinsmann has emphasized the importance of club play in making the World Cup roster, and Boyd's strong play means it will be very hard to leave him off the squad convening in Palo Alto, Calif., later this month.

"You have to give them a clear message that only if you pick up a rhythm and play week-in, week-out, will you complete one of the big keys in order to make the World Cup roster,” Klinsmann said in February.

For Boyd, however, he insists that his recent success is coming at a time when he is not thinking much about the national team. Since his first international appearance in 2012, Boyd has been capped 13 times for the national team—with most appearances coming as a late substitute—but is still searching for his first goal.

While always one of the more enthusiastic American players regarding the national team, his latest surge has come at a time when he is blocking out his World Cup ambitions and instead focusing on helping Rapid Vienna.

“Right now, to be honest, not at all,” Boyd said on thinking about the national team during his recent run. “We had a goal here at Rapid that we wanted to secure a [Europa] League spot and we did it. If I get a call up, then of course I’ll be just focused on the World Cup and the national team. It’s always an honor to represent the national team. Right now I am just focused on Rapid Vienna."

Obviously if you focus on your club, the rest will come. I’ll just do what I’ve done for Rapid Vienna if I make the roster.”

When Boyd made his debut for the United States against Italy, it came at a time when he was playing for the second team of Borussia Dortmund and had yet to make a full professional appearance. He was scoring at a very frequent rate for Dortmund’s U-23 team and his decision to play for the U.S. was met with great excitement among the fans and the team.

In Boyd’s most recent appearance with the national team against Ukraine, another young player of a similar background joined the team for the first time—Julian Green. Unlike Boyd, Green had been playing with Germany’s youth national teams but was actively pursued by Klinsmann and U.S. Soccer.

When Green arrived in Franfurt ahead of the Ukraine game, he had yet to make his final decision between the U.S. or Germany . Boyd enjoyed talking with Green leading up to the game is happy to see that Green eventually followed in his footsteps on deciding for the United States. “I’m excited about him,” Boyd said of Green. “I’m happy that he chose the United States. I just got to see him one time at training. I didn’t really get to train with him. I met him one night in Frankfurt."

And did Boyd encourage the starlet to choose the U.S.?

"Of course I talked to him," Boyd said "I told him that the right choice would be to choose the U.S. because you’d have a great future with U.S. Soccer. I think he can contribute a lot for us. Obviously he’s a young and gifted player. I think he will help us a lot.”

If Boyd does in fact make the U.S. roster for the upcoming May camp, the opportunity is there that his first national team goal in the upcoming friendlies could bring the American debut of his “Cyclops Celebration.”

As part of his growing collection of tattoos, he intended to get a crocodile skin imprinted on his forearm. Giving the tattoo artist a great deal of freedom to put a large eye on the design, Boyd can now imitate a Cyclops and it is something he has been doing with every goal recently for Rapid.

“I know the artist was good,” Boyd said of his recent experience to the tattoo parlor. “I told him I wanted to get crocodile skin. I didn’t plan to get an eye. He said: ‘I think an eye would fit very well.’ I said: ‘You know what? Just do it.’ I trusted him."

"When he finished I stood in the mirror and was like, ‘What am I supposed to be doing? Holding it to my head?’ And then The Cyclops was born.”

“It’s going to be my signature celebration for the rest of my career.”

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