Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
In just a matter of days, Julian Green will be playing soccer in the United States for the second time this summer. Only this time, he’ll be wearing a different jersey.
Green returned to training with Bayern Munich on Monday after taking three weeks off for vacation and is expected to play in both Bayern matches on their U.S. tour that begins this week. The German champions take on Chivas de Guadalajara at Red Bull Arena on Thursday and the MLS All Stars in the league’s All-Star Game on Aug. 6 in Portland, Ore.
The 19-year-old Green is coming off a dream World Cup debut, scoring in extra time as the USMNT mounted a last-gasp comeback against Belgium that eventually came up short. Despite the way the team the went out, Green is ready to build off his experiences playing with the USMNT before and during the World Cup.
“Its very exciting,” Green told reporters on a conference call about coming to the U.S. to play. “I have already played in the U.S. but right now I’m coming with FC Bayern, my home club and that’s very special too. I’m looking forward to playing and showing the people how good FC Bayern is.”
Green’s commitment to the USMNT in April ended a long pursuit from both head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and assistant coach Andreas Herzog, and gave the U.S. another key piece for the future. While Green showed flashes in friendly matches against Mexico in April and Turkey in June, it was the substitute-appearance goal that truly validated Klinsmann’s reasoning for including the youngster on the World Cup squad.
“The goal was very special to me and it gave me a lot of confidence,” Green said.
Green, DeAndre Yedlin, and John Brooks were all surprise inclusions when the World Cup squad was announced in May, but all three ended up making huge impacts during the tournament. Brooks’ game-winner against Ghana is a goal that won’t be forgotten for some time while Yedlin’s contributions against Cristiano Ronaldo and Eden Hazard helped give the U.S. a fighting chance in both of those games.
So it should come as no surprise that Green backs Klinsmann’s policy of giving youth a chance.
“I think its very important to get the young guys a chance to play,” Green said. “I think we did a good job, whether it was me or DeAndre Yedlin or John Brooks, we have a lot of good young players and I’m looking forward to playing with them.”
Last season, Green made his debut for Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League as a late substitute in a match at CSKA Moscow. However, Green spent most of the season outside of the first team, either solely training with the starters or playing with Bayern Munich II.
Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola said last week that although Green’s first team opportunities were limited last season, he expects the German-American winger to remain at the club in the future. Green echoed those comments on Monday, stating that he wasn’t interested in looking for a loan and wanted his chance to make a mark in Bavaria.
“The most important thing right now is FC Bayern,” Green said. “I want to play for Bayern and I don’t think about some loan or something. That’s it.”
“Right now I just want to play soccer again,” Green continued. “I had three weeks off and I’m looking forward to play again with my teammates from the (German) national team. I just want to show the coach and the team that I can help them and if I get my chance I’ll try my best. I’m waiting for my chance.”
Guardiola had also mentioned that Green had suffered a minor knee injury, but the Tampa, Fla., native brushed off any reports of the injury being serious.
“My knee is very good,” Green noted. “It was just a little pain but not bad, its very good right now, and I can train in the U.S.”
Think Green stays at Bayern this season? Looking forward to seeing him in action against Chivas de Guadalajara and the MLS All-Stars?
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