CHICAGO — Tyler Boyd was conceived in the U.S. and now he’s playing there, too.

His father, Ric, wanted his son to be born in his native New Zealand, so Ric and Sherry Boyd traveled there for their son’s birth in December 1994.

“We flew straight back to America when I was old enough to travel,” Tyler Boyd said.

After Tyler spent a decade in Southern California growing up, the family moved back to New Zealand and he debuted for New Zealand’s senior national team in 2014. He made six appearances for the All Whites, was granted a switch of affiliation by FIFA in May and has become a regular for the Americans heading into Sunday’s CONCACAF Gold Cup final against Mexico.

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“It was my dream to play for America,” Boyd, 24, said Friday. “I represented New Zealand and that’s my dad’s country, and now I get to represent America and make my mom proud — and my dad is extremely proud, as well. To represent such an amazing country is such an honor.”

Boyd signed with the Wellington Phoenix at 17 in 2012 and moved to Portugal’s Vitoria de Guimaraes in February 2015. He started to score during a loan to the smaller Portuguese club Tondela in 2017-18, made a few starts but mostly substitute appearances for Vitoria de Guimaraes in the first half of last season, then became a regular during a loan to Turkey’s Ankaragucu during the second half of 2018-19.

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Boyd made his U.S. debut on June 9 in an exhibition against Venezuela and scored twice in his second game, the Americans’ Gold Cup opener against Guyana on June 18.

“You could see he was full of confidence coming in,” U.S. forward Jordan Morris said.

Boyd started on wing midfield in three of the Americans’ five Gold Cup matches and entered one as a second-half sub.

“His speed, his verticality, his ability to get to goal, his ability to score goals is something that’s valuable,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said.

Ronald Blum is an Associated Press writer.


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