USMNT Roundtable: The One About Julian Green

No, Julian - we applaud YOU (Photo:

No, Julian – we applaud YOU (Photo:

Everybody’s talking about Julian Green’s decision to throw his lot in with USMNT. You had to know the roundtable was going to give its view…

He is 18 years old. He was born in Tampa. He moved to Germany around the age of two. He’s very good at football: a German youth international since he was at the U16 level, a dalliance with the US U18s, and currently a free-scoring fixture on Bayern Munich’s reserve team.

Respected voices say nice things about him, and have been doing so for a while. Now, Julian Green, has officially filed to tie his international future to USMNT. The timing – pretty much the last possible moment for a player to make himself eligible to join Klinsi’s World Cup plans – has piqued interest in a guy who might otherwise be considered just another promising youngster in the pipeline.

Green’s decision to bolt from the German national team development program that nurtured him to jump on Klinsi’s New World bandwagon has raised a few questions: Does this mean he’s going to Brazil? Do we, as USMNT fans, want Europe’s reserve-teamers joining the Nats just before the major tournament of FIFA’s quadrennial cycle? What does Jurgie’s ability to poach talent from his homeland say about his recruiting skills? What does it say about the other options?

So many questions. To the USMNT roundtable, however, there is just one: what do YOU think about Julian Green’s entrance to the national team player pool?

Too late to stop him now. He's gone. (Photo:

Too late to stop him now. (Photo:

Joe Maskivish

The two prevailing reactions to the big Julian Green announcement are either “This is the greatest news ever!” or “Hang on everybody, he’s not quite a savior”. For my money, the truth lies somewhere in between.

Few, if any, have actually seen him play consistently. Not often are German fourth-tier games, easily found without the aid of shady, pirated websites. However, much stock can be placed in the sweeping praise placed on the young man by individuals who make a living evaluating talent, as well as, Bayern Munich’s investment in his abilities. All accounts thus far suggest he is the real deal.

For the U.S. fan hoping for obvious signs of the national team program’s improvement and mainstream relevance, Green’s announcement is at the very least a large splash in the pool of hope. Yet, caution should still be exercised, as the number of remaining questions is infinite. Can he handle all the newly obtained pressure? Will he fizzle out and become the next Freddy Adu?

The term “cautiously optimistic” comes to mind when thinking of Julian Green’s future. He likely won’t make a splash on the international level until at least the next World Cup cycle, he hasn’t played many competitive minutes at the highest level, he’s still young and physically developing – but the hints of something special do exist.

Note that Bayern Munich, a club looking to be a global power, was jumping at the chance to release Green for the upcoming USA/Mexico tilt. They know they have a talent on their hands and they have visions of throngs of Bayern jerseys with “Green” on the back walking around the streets of America.

"Maybe 5,000? By the beginning of August. Ship 'em straight to Portla...oh, hi! You hear much of that?" (Photo:

“Maybe 5,000? By the beginning of August. Ship ’em straight to Portla…Do you mind? I’m on the phone here.” (Photo:

Rob Thompson

A significant percentage of pundits think the only way Jurgen Klinsmann was able to persuade Julian Green to pledge allegiance to the Unites States Men’s National Team was to offer him a spot on the World Cup roster. I’m in the camp that believes this is not true.

Julian Green is a very good, young talent with a bright future. He has scored 15 goals this season in the fourth tier of the German league system for Bayern Munich’s B Team, and that is an impressive number for an 18 year old.

He likes to play on the left side and tuck inward to shoot off his right, much like Landon Donovan. Julian Green is a good talent, has a promising future in soccer, and USMNT fans should be encouraged by the recruiting talents of coach Klinsmann. However, Green will not be on that plane when it leaves for Brazil.

With such little time left before the first kick of the World Cup, and a depth of proven talent vying for the final, fourth-forward roster spot (Read: Wondolowski, Agudelo), I don’t see Green able to offer anything to secure a place in the squad.

He will be included in some of the forthcoming international friendlies which function as World Cup tune-ups, but this will be as close as he gets to Brazil. I’m positive Klinsi was very direct in his communications, and promised him inclusion in future USMNT camps if he works hard and keeps moving up the ranks.

For Green, I think he realized there is less of a mountain to climb to play for the United States rather than Germany. He is a good addition for the future and will get opportunities to shine, but those will be after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Listen, Julian, when I said 'welcome, aboard', I wasn't necessarily talking about a plane to Brazil...(Photo:

Listen, Julian, when I said ‘welcome aboard’, I wasn’t necessarily talking about a plane to Brazil…(Photo:

James Vlahakis

Julian Green’s wiki page needs some updating as it claims he plays (present tense) for the U-19 German team. That’s old news. 

Green’s choice to play for the USMNT has been a big deal in the USA. I’m not sure how it’s being taken in Germany.

I’m not that excited about Julian. First, I doubt the Germans are losing sleep over his switch. Second, I’m not impressed with what little I’ve seen of Julian’s goal videos.  I don’t know enough about what type of competition he’s facing to judge if he’s the “next big thing.” Third, Alexi Lalas made a good point when he suggested dual-national players are problematic if they don’t demonstrate enough “love” (my word) for their country. 

I agree, and question how much love or “drive” Julian can demonstrate from a country that he hardly knows. No offense intended, but does he know what it’s like to be an American? 

I know there is no one-size-fits-all approach, as America is a melting pot of cultures. But will the spark of national pride that is stirred within us as fans exist for a player as young as Julian? Is my position undermined by players like Fabian Johnson and Jermaine Jones who play with heart? 

Maybe Alexi and I are wrong, and the love for the game will spark a young player who has never lived within our borders. Only time will tell.

Julian has much to learn about America. Fabian has much to learn about lederhosen. (Photo:

FJ -Julian will teach you how to fasten your lederhosen if you tell him all you know about America. (Photo:

Alex White

Some have expressed concern that Julian Green might steal my locked-down spot for Brazil, but the notion is quite preposterous — we don’t even play the same position!

In all seriousness, Mr. Green’s association switch can’t be anything but positive for the US squad. The kid is a phenomenal talent. I see him making the trip to Brazil this year; it was probably a key part of Klinsmann’s sales pitch.

Depending on how quickly he integrates, Green can be a key starting cog or an off-the-bench x-factor to unlock obstinate defenses. And even though he has three or four more World Cup cycles waiting for him, I hope does play this year: there are more than a few trips to Central America looking in his future.

The way Klinsi recruits — casting a wide net to seek out eligible players — irks some, but as a college sports fan, it feels strikingly familiar to me. Part of being a college coach is selling the best 18-year-old talents on why they should commit their futures to you. (For the rabid fans, Signing Day is a national holiday!) From his results, it looks like Coach K would be fantastic at that side of the game. And he’s made a subtle shift from scouting the US youth teams for the best American players to seeking out the world’s best players who are American.

There’s a disquieting xenophobic streak running through some (not all) of the outcries which hits home for me (I’ll beg Mr. Prandelli for a back-up sweeper call-up in the next Azzurri Roundtable). I completely understand the desire to feel a personal connection to the national team, to see little Billy from down the block make good, and to know a player has the same local pride as you. But if Green puts it in the net against Portugal in June, I certainly won’t celebrate any less.

If we want to have more locally-based teams (and to never compete, ever), maybe we should have state squads — after all, Europe doesn’t compete as the European Union. Here’s hoping for Rhode Island in the first group stage…

Michael Parkhurst: first name on the team sheet for Rhode Island. Also the second name. And probably the third.(Photo:

Michael Parkhurst: first name on the team sheet for Rhode Island. Also the second name. And probably the third. (Photo:


Need more USMNT roundtable in your life? Chase down the contributors on Twitter: @JoeMaskivish, @roblthom66, @jvlaha and @A1exWhite 

To join the next roundtable, contact Austin Fido @canetop.

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