SANDY — One day before the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, Real Salt Lake’s forward corps got a massive upgrade.
U.S. international Bobby Wood has agreed to a pre-contract that would allow him to join the club by July, according to multiple reports. The Athletic was the first to report the deal.
Wood could also negotiate an early exit to his current contract in Germany, which would allow him to join the club in time for the start of the 2021 season. MLS commissioner Don Garber has said the league is aiming to begin the season in early March.
Wood, 28, who plays for Hamburger SV in Germany, has played just 121 minutes a year after struggling to 153 in the 2019-20 season. He hasn’t been called up by the United States since 2018.
Salt Lake would be Wood’s first stop in Major League Soccer. A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Wood moved with his family to California to play for youth power Irvine Strikers in 2005 before enrolling in the youth academy at Germany’s 1860 Munich in 2007.
He’s spent his entire career in Europe, turning pro in 2010 with 1860 Munich II and playing for four teams and two more loan spells, all in Germany. Among those stops was a two-year contract at Union Berlin from 2016-18, when he overlapped with RSL midfielder Damir Kreilach — a tenured player for the club who made 157 appearances with 33 goals from 2013-18.
Kreilach signed with RSL ahead of the 2018 season, and recently added a two-year extension with an option for the 2023 season.
Wood first appeared for the U.S. men’s national team in 2013 and has 13 goals in 45 appearances. He’s most known for scoring the gamewinner that gave the USMNT its first-ever road win over Germany in 2015.
Wood is the second incoming RSL striker with national team roots ahead of the 2021 season. The club previously added Rubio Rubin from USL side San Diego Loyal SC.
The 24-year-old Oregon native previously played in Mexico for Club Tijuana, as well as in Europe since 2014, when he signed with Danish Eredivisie club FC Utrecht.
The two U.S. internationals will join Maikel Chang, Chris Garcia, Milan Iloski, Douglas Martinez, Justin Meram, Jeizon Ramirez and Tate Schmitt in the forward lineup.