Terrence Boyd's painful decision
My parents broke up and he didn't care for me, so I don't care for him.
"Terrence is strong in the work with his body," Wagner said via email. "He knows were the goal is, and he is able to fight for the team. He has to work on his combination game, on his technique to have a better first contact. If he works hard in the future, he can step up to the highest European level, like the German Bundesliga, Premier League, or Serie A."
But it was in Berlin that Boyd's American adventure began. U.S. U-20 international Bryan Arguez was also part of Hertha's youth system, and in late 2010 he alerted Thomas Rongen, then the head coach of the U-20s, that there were some Americans on Hertha's books whom he should look into recruiting for the squad. Rongen soon invited Boyd to a training camp with the U-20s. There was only one problem: Boyd didn't have a U.S. passport, and acquiring one required getting his father to sign the necessary documentation.
As Boyd recalled what he went through to get his passport, there was little ambiguity as to his feelings toward his father.
"My parents broke up and he didn't care for me, so I don't care for him," he said.
Yet Boyd had to seek him out, without even knowing precisely where to look. At Rongen's urging, Boyd turned to social media and located a cousin on Facebook, who got him in touch with his paternal aunt, who agreed to act as a go-between to get the necessary paperwork signed. And while there would be no reunion with his father, the process did allow Boyd the chance to reconnect with some of his American relatives.
"When I first got the number for my grandmother, she was totally going nuts," Boyd said. "The last time I was in the States was when I was a baby. They were crying, all the old ladies. My grandpa was like, 'It's OK, it's cool.' He doesn't even know what soccer is. But it was very emotional."
The papers were signed soon thereafter, and since then Boyd has represented the U.S. at U-20, U-23 and senior level.
"Boyd was one of the few [recruited] guys who, from day one, it was like a great honor for him -- and I think he's shown that, and always talked about that -- to represent the United States," Rongen said. "I'm sure he went through an emotional hardship to get his passport, but he was so determined."
It's a choice that still seems fraught with contradictions. On one hand, Germany never provided Boyd with any international opportunities, which practically made the decision for him. On the other, it seems incongruous that he would choose to suit up for the country of the parent who abandoned him.
Yet Boyd has clearly made an emotional bond with the U.S. team. His reaction at failing to qualify for the London Olympics with the U.S. U-23 national team was pure devastation, and he still feels regret at how the qualifying tournament ended, despite his two goals in the group finale against El Salvador.
My parents broke up and he didn't care for me, so I don't care for him.” -- Boyd on recalling what he went through to get his passport, which required his father, Anthony, to sign some documents.