The battle between Germany and the United States for the international destiny of Bayern Munich's Julian Green is finally over, as the 18-year-old winger has his sights set on the stars and stripes of the United States men's soccer program.
ESPN's Taylor Twellman first reported the news Tuesday, March 18:
Excitable head coach Jurgen Klinsmann later confirmed the announcement, as did the official Twitter feed for the USMNT:
“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
ussoccer) March 18, 2014
Now that the Tampa-born, Germany-raised Green is officially in the United States' program, his dynamic dribbling skills and goal-scoring ability from the wing make him a welcome addition to the USMNT roster for the 2014 World Cup.
The United States could use a jolt to the program, as the mood soured a bit after their 2-0 loss at the hands (or feet, rather) of Ukraine, who are one of the better teams missing out on a trip to Brazil.
The established players in the USMNT have been welcoming to Green, and he even cited this as a reason for choosing the American program. Green said to U.S. Soccer, via Richard Farley of Pro Soccer Talk:
Clint Dempsey gave me a jersey with my name on it, and the way they supported me gave me a lot of belief. The coaches have shown a lot of trust in me, and now I hope to do everything I can to earn a spot on the World Cup roster.
This detail should assuage the fears of fans who might think a rift will grow between the German-American players and the rest of the United States squad.
The presence of Green and his technical ability just adds more depth and flavor to the United States national team, and Jurgen Klinsmann knows the addition of a "very special talent" could boost the team in training.
Green would be one of the few U.S. players brought up in the very technical environment of German football. He has scored 15 goals in 21 appearances for Bayern Munich's second team, which plays in the fourth tier of German soccer.
Considering the fact the United States went the entire 2010 World Cup without a forward scoring a goal, any additional firepower up top would be quite welcome. He certainly shows a calm touch in front of the goal.
For some keen observers, this idea may have shades of a 17-year-old Theo Walcott perhaps undeservedly making the England World Cup roster in 2006. However, there are some key differences in the two teams' situations.
Which player is most likely to miss out on a World Cup spot if Julian Green makes the cut?
Walcott was picked over established English players, such as Darren Bent and Jermain Defoe, and didn't register a single minute of action. Green isn't looking to take the place of Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan or Jozy Altidore, and he doesn't have the time to unseat any of the other established players as a starting option.
Instead, he provides cover on the wings, where the USMNT doesn't have the most intimidating options.
Brek Shea and Edgar Castillo have struggled to find their ways in international football, while the Houston Dynamo's Brad Davis is perhaps too old to make a big impact at any World Cup. Fabian Johnson, a German-American who plays left-midfielder and left-back, would make an excellent tutor for the young Green and would likely welcome his presence.
The addition of Green would also mean a player like Eddie Johnson, who moonlights as a left-midfielder, could focus on training as a striker and backing up—or pairing with—Jozy Altidore up top.
Green will be a very strong player for the United States for years to come, and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil should be the first of many major appearances for this young phenom in red, white and blue.