Wood feels like he’s been “here for a good year already” after only a week with his new team.
Bobby Wood’s plane touched down in Salt Lake City last week and he had already hosted a welcome party.
Real Salt Lake general manager Elliot Fall and assistant general manager Tony Beltran met the club’s newest striker at the airport, gave him a shirt and scarf and officially ended a wait for months after the ‘team agreed with him in january.
And after a short 40s and a few workouts, Wood already seems to be feeling right at home.
“I feel like I’ve been here for a good year already,” Wood said Thursday.
RSL officially signed Wood in April for a deal that will last the entire 2023 season. He is a former player for the United States Men’s National Team. And at just 28, he’s in the midst of his athletic heyday.
Wood could make a good partner for Rubio Rubin, who has scored four goals in the first six games of the 2021 season. Or, he could become the type of forward RSL has sought since the days of Álvaro Saborío.
Wood said he expected a cheer process for his new situation, but added that so far the coaching staff had teammates and everyone had welcomed him with open arms.
RSL coach Freddy Juarez said overall players and staff are receptive to creating a family atmosphere at the club, which helps players like Wood acclimatize quickly and to feel comfortable.
“I already feel like part of the group,” said Wood. “It’s been a lot of fun so far. It was the easiest transition of my career.
Midfielder Albert Rusnák has said that the goal of every player on the team is always to make newcomers feel welcome. But with Wood’s breadth of professional football experience, the onboarding process is much smoother.
“Personally, I expected nothing less from Bobby than to immediately fit in with the teammates and be vocal and from day one to be part of the team,” said Rusnák. “This is not his first transfer or the first time he has joined a new club. He has a ton of experience and I think that’s why he will be a big part of this team in the future.
Wood hasn’t played in a soccer game for about two months, he said, so he will be looking to listen to his body as he works towards full fitness. But even if he’s not in top form, Juarez can already see what he will bring to the club.
“He’s very good tactically,” Juarez said. “He has been well trained. Its positioning is very good. The shape of the body when he calls for the ball is very good.
Rusnák said what marked him was Wood’s strength and how we can be “very, very powerful”.
In just two training sessions with his new team, Wood loves what he sees.
“The team is very stable, has a lot of depth,” said Wood. “A very strong team and I think we have a lot of potential to have a good run this season. “
RSL VS. WHITE VANCOUVER CAPS
At the Rio Tinto stadium
When • June 18, 8 p.m.
TV • KMYU