On the Record

Here's What People Are Saying About Julian Green

ASN contributor Laura Greene chronicles the 18-year-old attacker's rise to prominence, decision to side with the U.S., and his controversial inclusion on Jurgen Klinsmann's 2014 World Cup side.
BY Laura Greene Posted
June 03, 2014
10:28 AM
JULIAN GREEN IS THE YOUNGEST member of Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad for the 2014 World Cup. His inclusion in the final 23 divides opinion and he is, by far, the least experienced player on the U.S. men’s national team.

Together with John Brooks, Timmy Chandler, Fabian Johnson, and Jermaine Jones, Green is one of five Brazil-bound German-American players currently plying his trade in Europe.

The young midfielder, who will turn 19 on June 6, plays for Bundesliga champions and Bavarian powerhouse Bayern Munich, yet is a relative unknown. He is the epitome of a wildcard pick and every bit a gamble, yet Green will have us all glued to the action, should he receive any minutes this summer.

Over the last six months, Green made his Bayern debut, chose to play for the U.S. and started to become a household name, despite a lack of first-team action for Pep Guardiola’s side. Here, we take a look back at his rise and discuss what people have been saying about the youngster.

Green moved to Germany at the age of two. The son of an American serviceman and a German mother, Green’s links with the U.S. have remained strong, with annual visits to Florida to visit his father.

The Tampa-born forward has represented Germany at the under-16, 17 and 19 levels and first began turning heads during the 2011-12 season, when he netted 17 goals in 25 matches for Bayern Munich's U-17s.

On the back of representing Germany’s U-17s, Green recollected his very first international call-up, telling Topdrawersoccer.com on June 13, 2012:

“A very special moment for me was when I was called up to play for the German under-16 national team. It was a game against Cyprus in which I was also fortunate enough to score. I have both the German and the American citizenship so I am still eligible to play for both nations. We will have to wait and see what will happens.”

It seemed that early interest from the United States had failed to materialize, with Topdrawersoccer.com’s J.R. Eskilson, writing:

“Earlier this year, U.S. Soccer inquired with the Bayern Munich U-17 coach about potentially calling the striker into a U-18 Men’s National Team camp—the follow-up call never happened.

“'Then they said they would notify me directly, yet since then three months have passed and nothing has happened,’ Green added about the current situation.”

September 2012 represented the first time Green would receive a call-up from his country of birth.

On September 11, Green notched his first goal for the U.S. in an U-18 friendly, a 4-2 win against the Netherlands. USSoccer.com reported on the game:

“Ten minutes from full-time, U.S. midfielder Julian Green—a product of Bayern Munich’s academy in Germany—displayed some individual skill as he created space from the defense by slashing into the right corner of the penalty box before placing a well-struck, curling ball into the far corner of the goal for the U-18 MNT’s fourth goal of the match.”

Green’s scoring streak continued throughout the 2012-2013 campaign, as he put away 10 goals for Bayern’s under 19s, adding six assists.

Following its historic treble-winning season, Bayern Munich’s senior squad had a new look going into 2013-14, with former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola replacing Jupp Heynckes at the helm of the club.

In a pre-season friendly against Fanclub Wildenau—Guardiola’s first game in charge—Green scored a hat-trick for Bayern. It was a 15-1 demolition of Wildenau, in the annual FC Bayern Dream Game.

Included in a week-long training session with Bayern’s first team in July 2013, Green spoke about Guardiola’s early influence in quotes that appeared on the club’s official Website: “He approaches us, praises us, and makes corrections, so it's superb,” he said, before adding that Bayern’s first-team stars “are really welcoming and help us whenever they can.”

During the first 15 games of the Regionalliga Bayern—Germany’s fourth tier of professional football—Green appeared in 12 fixtures, scoring 11 goals and setting up a further three.

By now an even-hotter prospect, Green was called up for a training camp and friendlies against Scotland and Austria with the United States’ men’s senior team in October 2013. However, it failed to happen, with Klinsmann telling USSoccer.com:

“We are going to give Julian an opportunity to breathe. All of these conversations and attention can be a bit overwhelming for a young player, so we decided to take the foot off the pedal and let him focus on his work at Bayern. We had a great conversation. He’s a mature young man and he clearly has a bright future. I told him that when the time is right, the door is wide open.”

As deflated U.S. fans wondered why Green had made a U-turn, the player’s father, Jerry Green, told MLSSoccer.com:

“Julian would love the opportunity to play with the American team—I know that he would like to do that. Now I'm not saying that's where he wants to be capped, but he wants to participate with them. But by the same token, if you're not hearing from them and you don't feel that they are reaching out to you in some way, at some point you have to lower your thinking in your mind.”

In November, it looked like things might be back on with the German national side when Green accepted a call-up to their under 19 squad.

“He has started the qualification matches with the German U-19 team and wants to support this team in the upcoming matches, as well," Green’s representative Katharina Schrott told MLSsoccer.com on November 4. "These matches are a great opportunity for him as a young player to gain further international experience.”

Agha Sajjad, commenting on the MLSsoccer.com story, wrote: “As much as I like Julian Green's potential, and having a kid who could easily be a world class talent in the future, I'm not too broken up about this. The kid is being pressured from both Germany and the USA (more his Dad than the actual team) to join, he's still extremely young, so I'm sure he's just taking his steps in stride, and I completely understand.”

DevinRigg added: “Playing for Germany U-19 doesn't tie him down to Germany. Playing these friendlies for the U.S. senior team does. As a kid that's still undecided, this is a no brainer.”

Whereas Wynn Huynh typed, “His heart is not with the U.S. If he's crawling back it's just because U.S. is his backup plan.”

November turned out to be an eventful month for Green. On the 8th, he signed his first professional contract with Bayern Munich and on the 27th, he made his senior debut for Guardiola’s men—coming on as a substitute for Mario Gotze three minutes from time in a Champions League away tie against CSKA Moscow.

“The match against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League was an unbelievable experience," Green told Sportsillustrated.com. "Now I want to keep improving, to try to impress the coach and show him that I can do it on a regular basis."

And he must have impressed—getting the nod to replace the injured Arjen Robben in Guardiola’s squad for the FIFA Club World Cup. Green stayed on the bench but was included in his new manager’s thoughts nonetheless.

By February, Green had accepted another invitation to join up with the U.S. for a training camp in Frankfurt, ahead of a March 5 friendly against the Ukraine.

However, until he filed paperwork with FIFA, declaring his allegiance to either the U.S. or Germany, Green would not be permitted a senior debut.

“He is not eligible to play in the friendly against Ukraine," U.S. men’s national team press officer Michael Kammarman told MLSsoccer.com. "He would not be able to play for us until he completes a onetime switch with FIFA.”

By March 18, there were rumours that Green would soon confirm his future with the U.S.

Commenting on the news on MLSsoccer.com, Bobby Drex wrote: “Just a thought, and this is completely hypothetical. How awesome would it be if Julian made his onetime switch to the USMNT, got called up to this World Cup, and scored to beat Germany? One can only hope right?”

Ronald_Aragon added: “It would be sweet to show up to your first day at a new job and get promoted to the Vice Presidency without doing any work. I just think he was to do a bit more before he gets to go to the BIGGEST SPORTING EVENT in the WORLD. This is not the Gold Cup, or the Olympics, you must contribute something before getting the opportunity.”

And Roy Rosell typed: “We need Green. Period. All this talk of, "Oh he better earn his place" is missing the point. We have a winger who is expected to be a global star in our grasp. If we don't grab him now, Germany will and we will forever wonder what could have been. If this means leaving Brek Shea or Brad Davis behind, come on guys.”

Later that day, on March 18, it was announced by U.S. Soccer that Green had filed his onetime switch and had chosen to represent the United States. This came after news from ,em>Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, which revealed that Green had been granted permission from Bayern Munich to train with the U.S. ahead of its April 2 friendly against Mexico in Glendale, Ariz.

In what has been perhaps Green’s biggest endorsement yet—senior Bayern players Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger described their young teammate on March 19:

“He’s got great potential, so I think you can be happy about the fact he chose to play for the United States,” Robben told SI.com. “He’s a great talent. He already trained with [Bayern’s first team] several times, and you can see he has potential. He’s quick, he’s got very good dribbling, and can score goals.”

Schweinsteiger added: “First, I think he has a good personality. That’s for me always important. And second he’s very quick—without the ball and with the ball. He plays a little bit like me. I’m not as quick as him, but at the beginning of my career I was playing on the left side outside, like his position now, and would come in and shoot with the right foot. And he’s done that a lot of times. OK, he’s young, but he’s fresh and dynamic. It’s good for the United States now, absolutely.”

On March 24, Jerry Green revealed what made his son opt for the U.S. telling USAtoday.com: “With Klinsy, here’s someone Julian identifies with. Klinsy played for Munich, he coached the German national team, on and on and on. He’s won a World Cup. I know there’s a part of Julian that is German, and a part of him thinks, ‘Maybe I should stay and play [for Germany.]‘ But I also believe that there’s a feeling, like a substitution of that, and that is the presence of Klinsmann.

“In a sense, he’s not playing in Germany, but the leadership that he is looking to for coaching and guidance — they are German. And I think that whole unique situation there is what ultimately won out.”

On April 2, Green made his debut for the U.S. men’s senior team, in a friendly played against Mexico in front of 59,000 spectators at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

Green, who replaced Brad Davis in the 59th minute, received mixed reviews.

Following the 2-2 draw, Michael Bradley told Grant Wahl on SI.com that the public should be patient with the debutant: “More than anything tonight was just about getting him out on the field for the first time and letting him enjoy that and almost in some ways getting that out of the way. Now he can come in and feel like he’s part of the group.”

It was the following month, on May 22 to be precise, that Julian Green’s name hit new highs. It was announced by Klinsmann that Landon Donovan would not be going to the World Cup, but Green—controversially—would.

Cue a slew of reaction on social media:

Klinsmann was at pains to point out that he would not be drawn into comparisons between Donovan and Green. On May 26 he was quoted as saying on Goal.com:

“We played, over the last 10 days, a lot of small side games, very competitive games and games that you can’t hide. Julian didn’t hide, not even one second. There was never a comparison [to Donovan] because he’s just different [Green] brings a different element to the game, and we are excited about it.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhzedVXQnkY Since then, Green has appeared in one more friendly for the U.S.—Sunday's 2-1 win against Turkey.

Yet to play in the Bundesliga and with a market value of just €500,000, Green is about as raw as they come. Perhaps the unproven teenager will be one of the success stories of the tournament, or maybe his inclusion is simply a nod to the future—with Klinsmann’s thoughts already turned to 2018.

Whatever the outcome, stay tuned. This is going to be one hell of a story.

What do you think of Laura Greene's On the Record series? And how do you feel about Julian Green's inclusion on the roster? Share your thoughts below.

Post a comment