Fresh start in Foxborough | Wood aims “to show the Revs that I’m still the player I am”

12_7_22 Bobby Wood Snow

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Sidelined by an adductor injury for the final four months of his two-year tenure with Real Salt Lake, Bobby Wood found himself eager for a fresh start. Selected with the first overall pick in Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft by the New England Revolution, Wood got his wish, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal (with an additional one-year club option) earlier this week.

After registering three goals and one assist in 14 appearances with RSL through the first half of 2022, Wood underwent adductor surgery in late June and was expected to miss 2-3 months, setting up a return in August or September. A second surgery was required, however, resetting Wood’s rehab process and delaying his return to the field until 2023.

That return will now be with New England.

“I’m extremely grateful, especially after last season with the very unlucky injury,” Wood said via virtual press conference on Wednesday afternoon. “I’m grateful and I’m just excited to get back and work hard for the team. I think my whole situation would have been completely different without this injury, so I’m just excited to show the Revs that I’m still the player I am, and just help the team as much as possible.”

Wood is in the midst of his second straight rehab stint, a process he said is going much smoother this time around. The 30-year-old forward has been making steady progress and expects to be at (or close to) full speed by the time the Revs report for preseason training in just about one month.

“I’m training every day,” Wood said. “Thankful for RSL for still letting me train there and work with the coaches and everything, and it’s going good. I’m, I think, at nine weeks and comparing it to the first surgery, I’m worlds ahead. I’m already sprinting at full speed, passing, everything, so it feels good. I’m happy with the progress so far, and I should be ready by preseason or a week or two later. It’s very positive.”

Wood and the Revs will be hoping for a return to the form that saw the veteran striker set a record for goals scored by an American in a single season in Germany’s top two flights, scoring 17 goals for Union Berlin in the 2. Bundesliga in 2015-16. That was in the midst of a breakthrough with the U.S. Men’s National Team, where Wood scored 13 goals in 45 appearances between 2013 and 2018.

Six of those appearances with the USMNT were under the guidance of head coach Bruce Arena, who will now reunite with Wood in Foxborough. Lauding him as “a player’s coach,” Wood said he’s very much looking forward to working with Major League Soccer’s all-time leader in wins once again.

“From my experience, he’s always been very honest,” said Wood. “I’m not saying everything was perfect, but he’s always been very straightforward with me. As a coach, that’s one of my most important things. I just want him to be straightforward, and he’s always been that with me.”

Arena has already rekindled that straightforward approach in New England, laying out his expectations for Wood as the striker joins a group of forwards that includes a pair of Designated Players in Gustavo Bou and Giacomo Vrioni, as well as former USMNT teammate Jozy Altidore.

“He just told me he wants me to come in, work hard, get fit, help the team, and that’s what I’m here to do,” said Wood, who described himself as “a two-way striker” willing to defend. “There will be a fair chance that if I do my thing, I’ll give him a headache of picking the lineup. That’s the goal of any player.

“I’ll just come in and work hard, really. It’s very simple. I’m just excited to meet the guys and do my thing.”