Julian Green has seen some real peaks and valleys throughout his young career. A 2014 World Cup goal solidified the young forward’s status as American soccer’s next big thing, but the struggles that have come since saw the 21-year-old all but fade out of the picture for both club and country. However, it now seems that Green’s career has reached a major turning point.
Under new manager Carlo Ancelotti, the Bayern Munich product appears to be back on the fast track with one of Germany’s biggest clubs. After shining in preseason with a hat-trick performance against Inter Milan, Green was named to Bayern Munich’s first team ahead of the 2016-17 season. Most recently, Green was counted among Bayern’s substitutes for a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in the German SuperCup, as Ancelotti’s vocal faith in the young forward has been backed up by a spot on the matchday roster.
Green is certainly not looking ahead. A long road is ahead of him on the club level, but it appears that after years of not living up to the excessive hype that had come to surround him, Green is truly back on track.
“I think that he is doing well in this moment for us,” Ancelotti told Fox Soccer. “He has to know, everyone has to know, that Bayern is really competitive. Not only for him, Julian Green, but for all of the players. We’ll wait and see what happens during the season. ”
“At the end, I have to show it everyday,” Green added. “Keep up the hard work, work on me everyday. That was my goal for the preseason and all of my life in football.”
Green’s work has caught the eye of some of Bayern’s biggest stars. Originally deployed on the wing throughout his career, Green has slotted in at forward in recent weeks, and the move paid dividends almost immediately to the tune of four preseason goals.
Veterans Javi Martinez and Xabi Alonso have joined Ancelotti in praising the young forward, something that Green says has motivated him even further. However, one man that Green is still battling to impress is U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsman.
After breaking into the USMNT picture with five caps in 2014, Green has appeared just once since. The lone appearance, a pre-Copa America friendly against Puerto Rico, saw Green play just 27 minutes in a match littered with faces unfamiliar to the national team picture.
Sandwiched between USMNT appearances were a handful of matches with the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team with varying success. As things stand, Bayern remains firmly entrenched as goal No. 1 for the young forward, who admits that it is hard not to think about representing his country on the highest level despite the upcoming club campaign.
“If I do my thing here, if I can play, if I work hard every day, I’m sure I can be back with the national team,” Green said. “I want to be back with the team and to play for the U.S.
“(Klinsmann and I) always stay in touch,” Green added. “We always keep in contact. He’s watching me, and that’s the best.”
Green says he keeps in frequent contact with USMNT teammates John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin but, for now, his focus remains on breaking through at Bayern. The path is difficult, especially at the forward position, where Green will battle superstars like Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller for minutes throughout the Bundesliga season.
Still, that battle is quite the step up from the frustrations of previous seasons. Since that breakthrough World Cup goal against Belgium, Green has remained far from Bayern’s senior side. A loan at Hamburg failed miserably in the fall after the World Cup. Upon his return to Bayern, Green settled back into the reserves. It wasn’t always easy, but a 10-goal campaign last season was enough to catch the eye of Ancelotti upon his Bayern arrival.
Green’s task is now to stay in Ancelotti’s plans and continue to push the first team stars ahead of him.
“Bayern has always been my club. I’ve played here since I was 14-years-old,” Green said. “I grew up near Munich. It’s my dream to play here for the first team and I will work hard for it.”