Boyd divided over NZ, US allegiance

Wellington Phoenix's young sensation Tyler Boyd is considering making himself available to play for the USA national team.

Boyd, who has had an explosive holiday season with one goal and two goal assists as Phoenix stretched its winning run to three games, is a dual passport holder - New Zealand and American.

He was born in New Zealand to an American mother and New Zealand father and lived in the USA from shortly after his birth until he was 10.

Boyd has lived in New Zealand since then, but has told The World Game in the wake of Phoenix's 3-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers on Wednesday he is undecided about whether to commit to the Kiwis for national team selection or gauge whether there may be interest from the USA.

"I've played for the New Zealand under 20s, but I've also got an American passport," said Boyd, whose accent is an interesting mix of New Zealand and American.

"I don't know what I want to do (regarding international availability). I'm undecided at this stage.

"I guess I consider New Zealand home. My teenage years have been spent there and that's more of what I remember, so New Zealand is my home, but I haven't decided yet."

Boyd played for New Zealand in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey last year, but would not be committed to the Kiwis in senior football until he played for them at that level.

The news that Boyd is tossing up options is bound to spark New Zealand football authorities into action to encourage him to commit to his country of birth.

It is only now that Boyd has talked about the situation.

Asked if anyone connected with the United States Soccer Federation had made contact with him, Boyd replied: "No - I don't think they know.

"My mum's American-born and raised and my dad moved there and met her. They came back to New Zealand just before I was born and a few months later we moved back. I guess they wanted me born in New Zealand."

It remains to be seen whether American officials show any interest in him.

Boyd turned 19 on December 30. He made his A-League debut as a 17-year-old early last season, but it is in his last two games where he has really begun to make his mark.

In Phoenix's 1-0 win over Melbourne Heart last Friday, he came off the bench and delivered a perfect, low cross from the right for Stein Huysegems to score.

Against the Wanderers, he again came off the bench to set up a Huysegems goal and also score off a Huysegems assist.

Wellington coach Ernie Merrick says the difference with Boyd now is that he has developed a "sense of purpose".

"Yeah, that's it exactly," Boyd said.

"I think I'm maturing as a player.

"When you're 17, you're still quite young and quite anxious, but I think I'm getting a bit more relaxed and more used to the league now.

"I've got a purpose, I know my job, and it just makes it a bit easier when you do know your job.

"Last season I played most of the games and had about seven starts. This year I've been a bit more sporadic as far as being in the squad goes, and I've missed a few games.

"But the last two games have been great. I've just been listening to Ernie and trying to do what we practice every day. He's been teaching me a lot, but if I told you too much about our tactics I might get into trouble."

Boyd's speed has given opposition defenders enormous trouble recently.

"I've got confidence now and I think when you get into one-on-one situations you've got to back yourself," he said. "It helps if you've got a bit of speed."

Source: SBS