The 19-year-old German-American was a surprising late addition to the U.S. World Cup squad, leaving many to question why he committed to the nation so early.
Julian Green filed his one-time switch in March, permanently tying him to the USA. Two months later, he was named to the team’s World Cup roster, despite being 18 years old and having exactly five minutes of first-team professional experience.
After Green’s switch to the U.S. and especially after his inclusion in the World Cup roster, speculation mounted about a quid pro quo deal between U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann and the young German-American.
It went something like this: Green would give Klinsmann his permanent allegiance and in return, the untested youngster would get a World Cup spot.
Green, a highly touted prospect, was born in the U.S. but lived most of his life in Germany, where he rose through the ranks at Bayern Munich, representing Germany and the U.S. at the youth international level.
Faced with real competition from Germany, Klinsmann managed to convert Green into a permanent member of the U.S. national team. But was there a deal made?
“No. Never,” Green told Goal USA.
Green insists that rather than a short-term promise, Klinsmann won him over with his vision for the long haul.
“He told me that it’s not just about the World Cup,” Green said. “He told me about the future, about the next four or five years. It was a nice conversation, I liked it and that’s why I made the decision.”
The decision was eagerly welcomed by Green’s father Jerry, a retired member of the military who lives in Florida. Jerry made no secret of his desire for his son to represent the U.S. but in the end, Julian says his father didn’t pressure him personally.
“Of course he wanted me to play for the USA but he never said to me ‘Play for the U.S.’ He said, ‘It’s your choice, you have to hear your heart,’” Green said of his father. “He didn’t say, ‘You have to play for the USA because I live there.’ He didn’t give me any pressure.”
Green would wait four games and change to make his World Cup debut, but made an immediate impact, scoring in extra time of the USA’s loss to Belgium in the round of 16.
“After that goal it was awesome,” Green said. “It was a very nice moment to score in a World Cup for the country you play for. It was one of the highlights of my career.”
U.S. fans can follow his career closely now, knowing that he’s in it for the short term, and for the long haul.
Green will be part of Bayern Munich's traveling squad during the club's U.S. tour this summer, starting with a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara in Harrison, New Jersey, on July 31 followed by the MLS All-Star Game in Portland, Oregon, on Aug. 6.