Having nearly ended his club career after a series of knee injuries, few MNT players have overcome the obstacles that Bobby Wood has. Now an established member of the Senior Team, here are five things you should know about how the Hawaiian-born striker got to where he is now for both club and country.
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii on Nov. 15, 1992, Bobby Wood went on to become just the second player form the Aloha State to represent the MNT after Brian Ching first did it in 2003. Wood played for Hawaiian youth club Powder Edge FC before his family relocated to Southern California where he turned out for Irvine Strikers.
A standout in his two years there, Wood attracted interest abroad and eventually joined the 1860 Munich Academy as a 14-year-old in 2007.
German Development and Career Doubt
Three years in 1860’s Academy developed Bobby into one of the top youth players at the club, and he was eventually awarded his first team debut as an 18-year-old on Feb. 14, 2011 away to Erzgebirge Aue.
On the radar of the U.S. Men’s National Team program, Wood was invited into then U-20 head coach Thomas Rongen’s camp one month later, but suffered a meniscus injury that put him out for the remainder of the German season. Having returned at the start of the new campaign, Wood re-injured his knee while away with the U.S. U-23s in November 2011, and two corrective surgeries later was close to calling it quits on his career.
“Of course I doubted my career,” Wood told The New York Times in 2012. “It was a really tough moment for me but I went through it. I spent time talking with my close friends and family. They were very supportive. They told me to keep my head up. It was a long road back.”
After returning home to spend time with friends and family, Wood pondered enrolling in college, but 1860 Munich U-23 head coach Alex Schmidt convinced him to continue his soccer career. Soon enough, the club’s first team coach Reiner Maurer was dismissed in Nov. 2012, opening the door for Schmidt to takeover and giving Wood another run of first team minutes with the club.
Wood earned his U.S. Men’s National Team debut a year later, coming on as a substitute in a 4-3 win at Bosnia-Herzegovina on Aug. 14, 2013, but continued to yo-yo between 1860 Munich’s first team and U-23 side until looking for greener pastures with a loan move to Erzgebirge Aue in Feb. 2015.
The move re-energized Wood, who scored three goals down the stretch and earned another call-up to U.S. MNT camp that June.