Julian Green, one of the best young players in Germany, has decided to play for the United States instead of Germany, US Soccer announced on Tuesday.
The news comes after Bayern Munich, Green’s club team, announced that it would let him train with the U.S. men’s national team before an April friendly against Mexico.
Green, an 18-year-old winger, was born in Florida but grew up in Germany. He represented Germany as a youth international, but has the right to make a one-time switch to the U.S. at the senior level under FIFA rules.
Green has applied for the switch, US Soccer announced.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was excited:
“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
Green has been destroying the German 4th division with Bayern Munich’s “B” team, scoring 15 goals in 19 games. He also played in a Champions League game as a reserve this year.
It’s a huge coup for Klinsmann.
Since he has taken over he has recruited dual citizens from Germany, Mexico, and Iceland to play for the U.S. national team.
While Green is his biggest recruit yet, he’s widely considered too young to meaningfully contribute at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. In addition, the U.S. has a shaky history of over-hyping both young players (Freddy Adu) and highly-touted dual citizens (David Regis).
There are whispers that Klinsmann would give Green a spot on the U.S. World Cup team if Green agreed to play for the U.S. now. If Green does make the team at just 18 years old (and without playing a single qualifier for the U.S.), that rumour — and the ethical implications it presents — will only intensify.
Controversy aside, it’s a happy day for the USMNT.
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