Julian Green is the most intriguing name to watch as we zero in on the United States’ World Cup roster in mid-May. Granted at the moment Green, a German-American 18-year-old who plays at Bayern Munich, hasn’t officially made a decision on where his international future lies.
ESPN’s Taylor Twellman tweeted Tuesday afternoon that Green will choose to represent the United States over Germany and play in the American’s friendly with Mexico in April:
Earlier in the afternoon Green’s father tweeted he would play vs. El Tri, setting off the speculation which escalated quite quickly.
This would be a minor coup for Klinsmann barely two months from when he picks the roster. I wrote last month that Green is a mix of allure and unknown, but certainly a player to keep a firm eye on based on talent alone. When Ty Duffy and I picked our latest 23-man roster earlier this month we each thought Green had a decent shot to make the team. The question now will be whether or not Klinsmann and U.S. Soccer promised Green a spot on the U.S. World Cup roster to help facilitate his decision? At the very worst, today’s news locks Green into the U.S. system long-term independent of the 2014 World Cup.
Granted Green is only 18 and most Americans have never seen him play outside of a YouTube highlight, but he’s managed to crack the lineup at Bayern Munich — if only briefly — playing mostly for Bayern II. Bayern just so happens to be the best club team in the world at the moment. When you consider those factors and the question marks over the form of Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore, it’s logical to give Green a shot to prove himself worthy of one of the 23 U.S. roster sports before June.
Simply put, the U.S. attack needs a boost — or at least a Plan B. Green, at 18 years of age, alone isn’t going to get the U.S. past Ghana, Portugal and Germany in June, but he probably can’t hurt either. This, gulp, doesn’t appear to be David Regis version 2.0.
More and more Klinsmann is looking like soccer’s version of John Calipari. What he might lack in Xs and Os he makes up for in college-style recruiting and relationships with players.
UPDATE: Klinsmann confirmed the news:
“We are absolutely thrilled that Julian Green has chosen to be a part of the U.S. National Team Programs!"—
Jürgen Klinsmann (@J_Klinsmann) March 18, 2014