Nearly three years ago, Taylor Booth said he’d be “amazed” if he reached his goal to play professional soccer in Europe.
With rigorous soccer academy training and travel — combined with school work — occupying much of his time, Booth told the Standard-Examiner: “The sacrifice is worth it and hopefully, when I’m older, it’ll pay off.”
It’s paying off.
Booth, a 17-year-old native of the Ogden Valley town of Eden, signed a 3 1/2-year contract to play with prestigious German professional club FC Bayern Munich, the team announced Thursday.
Booth had played several seasons for the Real Salt Lake Academy and now joins FC Bayern’s development academy.
“I’m very happy with this next step in my career,” Booth said in the club’s statement announcing his signing.
“FC Bayern is one of the largest clubs in the world. Being here in Munich at the FC Bayern campus and taking the next steps in my development makes me very proud.”
Booth has played for the U17 U.S National team as a 15-year-old and the U19 team at 17.
“We see a lot of potential in Taylor. He is a talented young player and we look forward to working with him to develop his talent further,” FC Bayern campus manager Jochen Sauer said in the statement.
Booth has been on the radar for some time. The Washington Post reported FC Bayern’s interest in the Northern Utah teen in December 2017.
In a March 2017 article on Major League Soccer’s website about each team’s top academy prospects, Will Parchman wrote about Booth: “Being named the top up-and-coming star in RSL’s academy is a real honor these days, and I have no hesitation about anointing Taylor Booth with that moniker at the moment.”
Parchman described Booth’s talent as “confident, mature play as a tone-setting midfielder ... RSL is fond of developing technically able midfielders capable of picking apart a defensive line. Booth might be their best ever.”
A Real Salt Lake spokesman said the club typically doesn’t comment on academy player transactions.
Booth will play for FC Bayern’s U19 team and will also train with the club’s U23 side. The agreement brings Booth to the club immediately.
FC Bayern is the most successful club in German soccer history with a record 28 first-division championships since 1932 to go with five European club championships, tied for third-most all time.