American Bobby Wood on the cusp of soccer greatness in Europe


Last summer, a poor but much-loved Berlin soccer club found itself in desperate need of a new goal-scorer and broke its bank to bring in a young American from California named Bobby Wood. Thus began what in U.S. sports-writing parlance would be considered a fairy tale.

The problem is this is Germany, the home of the Brothers Grimm, whose fairy tales often have a dark edge, where kids will make decisions that leave them horribly lost. They will be scared. Life will be unpleasant. A wolf, or a bear, will show up, and it will be touch and go as to who will die. A valuable lesson will be learned, but some tales will end in sadness.

Which brings us to:

Once upon a time, Bobby Wood, a 14-year-old from southern California, left home to seek the secret knowledge of soccer. He was traveling with a friend. Their plan was to spend 18 months learning how to play the game with a club known as TSV 1860 Munich in Germany. It was 7,000 miles from home.

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