Terrence Boyd calls return to soccer, U.S. national team a 'miracle'

ALEXANDRIA , Va. - Terrence Boyd called his return to playing soccer after a devastating injury and subsequent recall to the national team a "miracle."

The U.S. striker was nearly beaming as he fielded reporters' questions -- a sentence you don't read every day -- before the national team trained here on Sunday.

And it wasn't just because he's finally back with the squad after more than two injury-plagued years away.

"We were actually talking about retiring," Boyd, still just 25, said of the conversations he had with his bosses at Bundesliga side RB Leipzig last May, when there appeared to be no end in sight to the knee issues that had derailed his once-promising career.

"My family -- my girlfriend and I have a baby daughter now -- didn't know what was going to happen. If I stop playing soccer, what are we going to do? It was crazy, because there was so many terrible thoughts in your head."

Boyd tore the ACL in his right knee in December of 2014, when Leipzig was toiling in Germany's second tier. But a series of complications caused by a cyst in his upper calf led to three more surgeries and little, if any, progress.

It got to the point where he was almost ready to give up.

"Then, within the same month, the knee was good again and I could progress and rehab, go back on the pitch," Boyd said. "It was a miracle."

He was able to go through a full training camp this summer for his newly promoted club. A preseason goal in July provided a confidence boost, and while Boyd has yet to make a match day roster, he's played in reserve games -- some for the full 90 minutes -- as he slowly rebuilds the match fitness that was decimated during his time on the sidelines.

"Now it's just a matter of games, games, games to get the experience back, just feel comfortable on the pitch," he said.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann has been monitoring his progress and the pair spoke on the phone after Boyd returned to the field.

"He said he was going to send someone over to actually see you play [with the] reserve team," Boyd said. "It was kind of weird. Why would you go and watch a reserve team game? It was actually very nice, very kind act from him."

Boyd still hasn't appeared in an official match in 22 months, though, which is why he's probably a long shot to win his 14th cap in Tuesday's friendly against New Zealand (8 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN).

"He's with us here actually to get reevaluated, see where he's at," Klinsmann said Sunday afternoon during a live Facebook chat. The affable forward remains a popular presence in the U.S. locker room, however. And he insists he's ready to play against the All Whites if needed.

"If he lets me play I'm going to play, of course," Boyd joked, referring to Klinsmann. "I'm not putting pressure on him.

"I'm just enjoying the moment and being back with the guys and we'll see what happens," he added. "It's a fun team. There's so many funny characters in here. It's a little family."

And after staring a premature end to his playing days in the eye, being part of it again is extra special.

He said: "I'm very thankful, because when you come through all the s--- that I've been through, it's humbling. You don't take anything for granted. I didn't do that before, but now you just appreciate everything more."