It has been quite the two weeks for American soccer, which is beginning to see, on the National Team side at least, a string of successes that few could realistically see coming. The U.S. Department of Justice laying the smacketh down on FIFA was only the beginning. Since the arrest of several executives early in the morning of May 27, the following events have also happened:
- 6/2 – Sepp Blatter resigns, still won’t visit the United States.
- 6/5 – US Men’s National Team (USMNT) defeats #6 ranked Netherlands 4-3, coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the second half. Bobby Wood scored the winner in the 90th minute, after Danny Williams equalized on a deflection in the 88th minute. This was the USMNT’s first win against the Dutch in five tries (1-4-0).
- 6/7 – U-23 Men’s National Team tops England 2-1 to finish third in the Toulon Tournament, the highest an American team has ever finished there.
- 6/8 – US Women’s National Team defeats Australia 3-1 in their Women’s World Cup opener.
- 6/10 – U-20 Men’s National Team beats Colombia 1-0 to advance to the quarterfinals of the U-20 Men’s World Cup.
- 6/10 – USMNT defeats #1 ranked Germany 2-1 on a goal by Bobby Wood in the 87th minute.
So, who the hell is Bobby Wood? This USMNT run through world soccer’s elite has been his personal coming out party. Those two goals were his first for the senior Men’s National Team, and they could not have been more timely. I submit it is our civic duty as Americans to find out more about the young striker.
- Name: Bobby Shou Wood
- Age: 22 (November 15, 1992)
- Club: Erzebirge Aue
- Position: Forward
- Height/Weight: 5’10, 165 lbs
Where is he from?
Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii. But he’s spent the past eight years or so in Germany.
He looks Asian?
His father is part African American and his mother part Japanese, so hapa.
That’s cool. Why haven’t I heard of him?
Mostly because he’s been in Germany, but not playing in the top league so there isn’t much coverage. From 2007-2010 he played for 1860 Munich’s youth team, eventually moving up to their second team which plays in smaller, regional leagues in Germany. In 2010 he got the call up to join the full team which plays in the 2. Bundesliga, Germany’s second division. In February of this year went he moved on loan to Erzgebirge Aue where he scored three goals in nine games, but the club was relegated to the German third division and Wood will likely be looking for a new team this summer.
He has played for the United States all the way up from under-17 through under-20 and under-23, before debuting for the senior national team in 2013.
Does he score a lot of goals?
Not really. In 61 appearances in the 2. Bundesliga, he only scored six times.
So he’s not very good?
Though the early returns haven’t been there, it’s to give up on Wood. There were mitigating circumstances to his failures to score many goals (only six in 61 total 2. Bundesliga appearances) including a knee injury suffered while playing with the under-20 national team in March 2011. He re-injured the knee, this time with the under-23 national team in November of the same year and had to have surgery.
Does he score for the US then?
Not really. Until this past week, he hadn’t scored in any of his six previous senior team appearances.
I see. But they keep trotting him out there?
The USMNT has been looking for a top shelf, scoring striker for what feels like an eternity. So if you’re young and hungry, they’re going to give you a look at the senior level to see what you can do. Wood, Jordan Morris, and Gyasi Zardes are the latest to get a shot, with Juan Agudelo also working his way back into the mix.
So there’s potential then?
Definitely, especially looking at the second goal against Germany. He takes a fantastic first touch, gets turned and lashes the shot with his non-dominant left foot low and with pace into the corner. That’s a true strikers goal and one that takes confidence to even attempt.
Anything else interesting about Bobby Wood?
He speaks pretty good German. He’s not on Twitter or Facebook. Recently got one of those sides-shaved-real-close soccer player haircuts. A search for “Bobby Wood highlights” on YouTube didn’t yield much except for highlights from the last two games.
So we still don’t know that much about the guy–but for now, we do know per Wikipedia, Bobby Wood is an American hero.
BRIAN WONG | @bigbwong
Brian Wong is a third-generation Chinese American and Bay Area native. NBA fan, Golden State Warriors fanatic. Brian is a 2015 Dat Winning fellow.