• Boyd back with the Leipzig first team.
  • Scored in the mid-season friendly win over Farense.
  • Underwent four knee surgeries.

Pain-free following a lengthy battle with injury, RB Leipzig striker Terrence Boyd has not given up hope of one day treading the Bundesliga boards.

The USMNT international has been stymied by four bouts of knee surgery since joining the ambitious Saxony ensemble from SK Rapid Wien in summer 2014, but is once again rubbing shoulders with the first team.

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"I haven't played in the Bundesliga, so I can't say I'm a Bundesliga player," Boyd told the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung after scoring in the recent friendly win over SC Farense. "It's never nice when you're not able to take part - and I had my bad days, but my girlfriend would remind me that my career could have been over. I'm just happy to be back with the first team. After the winter break, I want to get back to being my old self."

Boyd scored 29 goals in 59 Austrian Bundesliga appearances for former club Rapid Wien and did not need long to add a couple of Bundesliga 2 goals to his tally at Leipzig, before being struck down with a second cruciate knee injury in December 2014. It was not until September 2016 that the Bremen-born frontman was finally able to play competitive football again.

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Boyd rediscovered his goal-scoring touch with the Leipzig Under-23s. © imago

With five goals in nine Regionalliga Nordost appearances for the Leipzig Under-23s during the first part of the 2016/17 campaign, Boyd was soon granted a welcome taste of the senior stage when he made a substitute appearance in the USMNT's 1-1 friendly draw with New Zealand on 11 October 2016. Although only a two-minute cameo, it did his confidence the power of good.

"It was an incredible act of faith on Jürgen Klinsmann's part," Boyd recalled of being given the unexpected opportunity to land his 13th senior international cap. "It was a real psychological boost. It was really cool, even though I only had a few touches of the ball. My highlights of the year, though, were being able to play football again and play for the amateurs."

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The 25-year-old earned a surprise call-up to the USMNT for last October's friendly against New Zealand. © gettyimages / Patrick Smith

His self-belief growing by the day and appetite suitably whetted, breaking back into the Leipzig senior side is next on Boyd's to-do list: "I'm taking part in training again, and I'm on the right path. I'm behind Yussuf Poulsen and Davie Selke in the pecking order and the quality here has only got higher, but if I can show what I'm capable of, I can be successful."

With his contract up at the end of the season, only time will tell if Boyd is able to realise his immediate goal in the Bundesliga as a Leipzig player. Whatever happens, the dauntless American's comeback story should provide waylaid athletes of all levels with a firm shot of encouragement and a healthy dose of optimism as they look to steer their own careers back on the desired path.

Chris Mayer-Lodge

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