Bobby Wood's climb from the youth teams at Germany's TSV 1860 Munich has reached the club's top side, and he's hoping to make his first-team debut this weekend.
The 19-year-old forward from Irvine, who was just out of eighth grade when he joined 1860 at 14, was called up last week after strong performances for the club's under-19 and under-23 teams, with seven goals in 18 appearances.
He didn't suit up for Friday's victory at VfL Osnabrueck but could play Saturday against MSV Duisburg. 1860 is 8-5-6 and sits eighth in the second-tier 2. Bundesliga.
“I usually play on the right or left side or as a forward,” the versatile Wood told the Yanks Abroad Web site last summer. “I like to get the ball into space and try to use my speed as an advantage. I also like to take players on and create chances.”
Wood, who attended Lakeside Middle School in Irvine and developed through the Irvine Strikers, one of the area's elite youth soccer clubs, also is among the top forwards for the U.S. under-20 team . He is expected to be in the Americans' starting lineup when CONCACAF qualifying for next summer's FIFA U-20 World Cup begins in April.
“Before I moved to Munich, I was never good enough for the national team,” Wood aaid. “I was never called up or I was not even known, but now it seems like the sacrifices are paying off. Ever since I have moved to Munich, I have developed so much as a player and person.”
Americans who have played for 1860 include Galaxy defender/assistant coach Gregg Berhalter, former U.S. forwards Josh Wolff and Taylor Twellman, and, until earlier this month, forward Kenny Cooper, who has joined the Portland Timbers.
ANOTHER GOAL: Matt Taylor's sizzling form for Germany's Rot Weiss Ahlen returned intact from winter break. The former UCLA and Chivas USA forward scored his eighth goal in 12 league appearances in the third-tier side's 3-2 loss Saturday to TuS Koblenz.
Taylor (Irvine/Irvine HS) converted a 60th-minute penalty kick for the Red and Whites, who are eighth in the 3. Bundesliga with a 5-6-7 mark. He has netted six goals in his past six league games, dating to Oct. 23.
ETC.: Maurice Edu (Fontana/Etiwanda HS) returned to Rangers FC's starting lineup in a 1-0 loss to third-place Hearts. Celtic (16-2-4) is atop the Scottish Premier League, with Rangers (15-3-2) five points back and Hearts (14-4-3) two points further behind. … Brad Friedel (UCLA) made two saves -- tipping Vincent Kompany's header over the crossbar and blocking a sharp, low drive from Jerome Boateng -- to claim his fifth shutout of the season in Aston Villa's 1-0 stunner over Manchester City. The Villans take on Wigan on Tuesday.
AREA PLAYERS IN EUROPE
D CARLOS BOCANEGRA (Alta Loma/UCLA)
Club: Saint-Etienne (France, Ligue 1)
Last week: Idle
Season: 16 league games (16 starts) with 1 goal, 18 games (18 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. fifth-place Toulouse (9-8-3)
M MICHAEL BRADLEY (Manhattan Beach)
Club: Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany, Bundesliga)
Last week: 86th-minute substitute as Die Fohlen (3-12-4) were beaten, 3-1, Sunday vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Season: 19 league games (17 starts) with 3 goals; 22 games (20 starts) with 4 goals in all competitions
Next: Sunday at ninth-place Eintracht Frankfurt (8-9-2)
D JAY DENNY (Santa Monica)
Club: Hednesford Town (England, Southern League Premier Division)
Last week: 90 minutes as in a 1-0 loss Tuesday to Bedworth United in the second round of the Birmingham County Senior Cup; league game Saturday vs. Banbury United was postponed because the field was frozen
Season: 7 cup games (6 starts) with 1 goal, 29 games (26 starts) with 1 goal in all competitions
Next: Saturday at sixth-place Chippenham Town (9-3-11)
M MAURICE EDU (Fontana)
Club: Rangers FC (Scotland, Premier Division)
Last week: 80th-minute substitute as the Blues (15-3-2) pulled out a 1-0 victory Tuesday over Inverness Caledonian Thistle; started, played 73 minutes in a 1-0 loss Saturday at Hearts
Season: 15 league games (11 starts) with 2 goals, 21 games (16 starts) with 3 goals in all competitions
Next: Wednesday at 11th-place Hibernian (4-13-4), Sunday vs. Motherwell in the Scottish League Cup semifinals
M BENNY FEILHABER (Irvine/UCLA)
Club: AGF Aarhus (Denmark, 1.Division)
Last week: League is on winter break
Season: 14 league games (14 starts) with 4 goals, 17 games (16 starts) overall with 7 goals
Next: March 20 vs. Hobro (5-7-3)
G BRAD FRIEDEL (Bay Village, Ohio/UCLA)
Club: Aston Villa (England, Premier Division)
Last week: 90 minutes, with two saves and fifth shutout of the season, as the Villans (6-10-7) climbed to 16th Saturday by stunning Manchester City, 1-0
Season: 23 league games (23 starts), 39 goals allowed, 70 saves, 5 shutouts; 26 games (26 starts), 45 goals allowed, 80 saves, 5 shutouts in all competitions
Next: Tuesday at 18th-place Wigan (4-9-10), Saturday vs. Blackburn in the fourth round of the F.A. Cup
M SACHA KLJESTAN (Huntington Beach)
Club: RSC Anderlecht (Belgium, Jupiler League)
Last week: Did not play in a 2-0 win Sunday over Standard Liege
Season: 13 league games (10 starts) with 2 goals, 21 games (18 starts) with 3 goals in all competitions
Next: Sunday at eight-place KV Mechelen (9-5-6)
D DALLAS MOORE (Santa Monica)
Club: Halesowen Town FC (England, Southern League Premier Division)
Last week: Did not play, because of injury, as the 20th-place Yeltz (4-13-6) lost, 3-0, Saturday to Bedford Town
Season: 13 league games (13 starts) with 1 goal
Next: Saturday at 21st-place Weymouth (6-13-6)
F YURA MOVSISYAN (Pasadena/Pasadena City College)
Club: Randers (Denmark, SAS-Ligaen/Superliga)
Last week: League is on winter break
Season: 17 league games (15 starts) with 5 goals, 25 games (20 starts) with 14 goals in all competitions
Next: March 6 vs. ninth-place Nordsjaelland (6-9-4)
F MATT TAYLOR (Irvine/UCLA)
Club: Rot Weiss Ahlen (Germany, 3. Bundesliga)
Last week: 90 minutes, with a goal (via penalty kick) in the 60th minute, as Rot Weiss returned from winter break with a 3-2 loss Saturday to TuS Koblenz
Season: 12 league games (12 starts) with 8 goals, 13 games (13 starts) with 8 goals in all competitions
Next: Tuesday at last-place Werder Bremen II (3-9-7), Saturday vs. 10th-place SpVgg Unterhaching (5-6-8)
BOBBY WOOD (Irvine)
Club: TSV 1860 Munich (Germany, 2. Bundesliga)
Last week: Promoted to the first team; did not suit up for Friday's 1-0 victory at VfL Osnabrueck
Season: Has not played for first team; 10 games (5 starts) with 3 goals for U23 team; 8 games (8 starts) with 4 goals for U19 team; 18 games (13 starts) with 7 goals in all competitions
Next: Saturday vs. third-place MSV Duisburg (10-5-4)