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Klinsmann noncommittal on Green’s potential role vs. Mexico

Julian Green

Photo by John Todd/


TEMPE, Ariz. — If all signs are pointing to Julian Green making his U.S. Men’s National Team debut on Wednesday, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is being as coy as possible about it.

Klinsmann was noncommittal on Monday afternoon when asked on Green’s availability for Wednesday’s friendly vs. Mexico at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, saying only that he hoped to see the 18-year-old winger in action. That, at this stage, seems like a foregone conclusion given that Green recently had his one-time switch of international associations from Germany to the U.S. completed by FIFA in an effort to be able to play vs. the Americans’ biggest rival.

What role the German-American youngster has against El Tri remains to be seen, however.

“We want to just see him being welcomed by the group, which he already did,” said Klinsmann. “We want him to grow into that group and I think the players will help him tremendously doing that because it’s always been a strength of any American team to welcome new players, young players into the group. We want to make him feel comfortable and then hopefully we get the opportunity to see him on the field on Wednesday night as well.”

U.S. supporters are hoping for the same. After several months of anxiously waiting to see if the Bayern Munich prodigy would commit to the Americans’ cause, fans might now get their firsthand look at just how talented Green really is and if he’s at all deserving of a spot on the upcoming World Cup roster.

The U.S. players are just as eager to see Green, especially the MLS-based ones who did not partake in the early March camp that marked the youngster’s first with the full national team.

“We’re excited to have him,” said veteran midfielder Michael Bradley. “Obviously, (he’s) a very young player but a guy who has shown even at a young age that he has good starting points and a lot of quality. I think we’re all excited to get to know him a little bit in these few days, kind of get the process going of showing him what it’s like to be in this team.”

As much hype as their is around Green currently (and there is plenty), Klinsmann made it clear that he is willing to let the youngster grow at his own pace. Even if that means that he plays little to no minutes on Wednesday.

“We don’t want to put any type of pressure on him or too high expectations,” said Klinsmann. “At the end of the day, he’s a player to be developed, developed mainly with his club from one point to the next. We’re going to help this development and how fast everything can then proceed is up to him.”


  1. makes perfect sense. i do hope he gets at least 20 minutes though. if he plays, i want to see if he can make an impact. 5-10 minutes is not enough time, usually, to do that.

  2. Hey guys I’m just spit balling here so don’t freak out on me. Would it ever make sense to have landon Donovan play left or right back or would he not be up to snuff?

    • Donovan would really quickley turn into our best, or one of our best outside backs. The problem is, he is already our best winger, withdrawn forward, striker, and probably one of the best center midfielders. So, we would lose too much in the attack if we moved him to outside back.

      • could be, outside MFs convert to that position often enough too. always thought Stu would make a good outside back

  3. People need to stop pointing to the ‘Strauss Article’ as anything more than some tabloid garbage. You can be sure if affected next to nothing.

    It’s actually quite tame by football journalistic standards. This is nothing compared to what major power coaches go through.

    If Uli Hoeness wasn’t able to get Klinsmann to change how he coaches, why would anyone ever think some no-named yellow journalist from the backwaters of American soccer would do anything at all?

  4. We American soccer fans like our shiny new (young) baubles, as we’re always more focused on what we might someday be, rather than on the best players we have now. Just for this cycle people have at various times anointed the following young players as our savior:
    1. Juan Agudelo
    2. Terrance Boyd
    3. Joe Corona
    4. Edgar Castillo
    5. Josh Gatt
    6. Aron Johannson
    7. Timmy Chandler
    8. John Anthony Brooks
    9. Jack MacInerney
    10. Luis Gil
    11. DeAndre Yedlin
    12. Chris Klute
    And now, Julian Green

    Of these, I’m not sure any of them start in Brazil (AJ and Yedline probably have the best chance), and most of them don’t make the team. I won’t get excited about Green yet, and prefer to look at guys who have demonstrated that they can make a contribution now (EJ, Wondo, Zusi, Bedoya, Besler, etc). All of them are in their late 20s or early 30’s, and at the peak of their careers. These are the guys who might lead us out of the group. Of the rest, probably two or three at best will help us…in 2018. I can wait.

    • A mix of hungry unknowns and established veterans is the best formula for winning in any sport. I must have missed the part where Castillo and JackMack were “saviors”.,,

      • Castillo definitely had a window of being a “savior.” Or at least he was considered capable of replacing bornstein, which was basically the same thing.

  5. I think the score is relevant too, as to whether green plays. I haven’t heard it discussed yet, but if us goes up 2-0 quickly, and things get chippy, I don’t expect to see green. Likewise, if Mexico runs is over (unlikely) I imagine Klinnsman will give the youngster some time on the field to showcase his talent, and maybe provide a spark.

  6. Just a thought, while looking at the Photo,
    shouldn’t the USMNT, Be playing and practicing as much with the Brazooka ball as possible?.
    The touch, the feel, the flight, etc. is always a little different and takes some time to adjust and become comfortable with.

  7. who knows what might happen?

    My lone hope is that the USMNT takes what Puebla did and uses that to kick some serious a$$

    • I’d be surprised if Green actually starts, and I think Parkhurst gets the nod over Beltran at left back. (Parkhurst, IMHO, is being handed a golden chance to grab a backup’s seat on the plane at LB/RB), especially with Brad Evans out.

      I think Wondo or EJ probably start up top, with Donovan pushed out to the wing and Deuce in the hole at #10. This is also make-or-break time for Wondo or EJ if they want a seat on the plane…Altidore is going, Johanssen is going, and with Deuce, Donovan, and (apparently) Green all capable of playing striker I think the USA only carries three pure strikers.

      Best guess is Green comes in at halftime or around the 60 minute mark, with Deuce sliding up top and Wondo/EJ coming off, Donovan slides into the hole, and Green goes in at left wing.

      Also think Gil gets a long look. Especially with his RSL teammate Beckerman almost certain to start I think there’ll be no better situation to see if he’s ready.

  8. Why wouldn’t Green play? There’s nothing to lose. If he’s trying to earn a ticket to Brazil here’s the best time to get a good look at him.
    Unless his ticket to Brazil has already been punched by his reputation alone which would be incredibly stup!d.

    • What you have to lose is the respect of other guys who have worked hard to get a shot and may resent a kid walking on and getting the start.

      What you also have to lose is undoing a year plus of getting beyond the perception that Klinsmann favors German players. (Remember the Strauss article?)

      He should, and probably will. get a 10 to 20 minute run out. And that’s great – and the right thing to do to insert him into the team

      • I read the mutiny article yesterday after seeing the Carlos Bocanegra interview. It’s readily available by doing an Internet search for the headline: “Friendly fire: U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s methods, leadership, acumen in question.” I would advise all USMNT fans to read the article a year later in order not to forget how bad things were as the Hex was getting underway and what a mess Klinsmann had made of things. I still maintain that the article is what saved Klinsmann from being fired.

        And, Tony in Quakeland, can’t remember for sure, but seems like you were the one a few months ago who mentioned the movie about the Sugarman. Is that right? Or was that someone else?

      • “I still maintain that the article is what saved Klinsmann from being fired.”

        The Strauss article came out after the Honduras loss and just before the Snow Bowl win , if memory serves me.

        That meant the US had 9 games left in the Hex when it came out.

        My explanation of what “saved Klinsmann from being fired” if that was even a consideration with the USSF, which no one knows, certainly not you, is far more mundane.

        My guess is going 7-1-1 in World Cup qualifiers thereby finishing first in the Hex and qualifying for the World Cup and then winning the Gold Cup, which meant the US qualfied for the playoffs for the next Confederations Cup had more to do with “saving Klinsmann’s job ” than some article with a three second life span on the American sports scene.

        If you think Strauss put any kind of pressure on JK then read read this:

        Now that is real pressure.

      • Yes, GW, obviously, as you say, “going 7-1-1 in World Cup qualifiers thereby finishing first in the Hex and qualifying for the World Cup and then winning the Gold Cup” solidified Klinsmann’s position. My point is, though, that the story sent shock waves throughout the USMTN and the fan community. And I don’t think there is any doubt that when the story came out team meetings were held behind closed doors and that people spoke their minds and Klinsmann to his credit was then smart enough to listen to the gripes and he made changes. The story got everyone fired up and helped make Klinsmann more flexible and everyone got on the same page and then it was off to the races. And by the time the Gold Cup rolled around things were humming the good chemistry on that team was extraordinary.

        Of course the happy ending might have happened without the Brian Straus article. But I don’t think so. It shook things up at a time when things needed to be shooken up.

      • agreed biff. some will never agree to that, have even read some say that it was all by Klinnsman design, but your take on this is also mine fwiw

      • Biff,

        You are assuming that the majority of US soccer fans reacted to the article like you did.

        I have my doubts.

        If everything in the article was the gospel truth, which is debatable, my reaction was “yeah,so?”. The article said the players were questioning the coaches training methods , his style, his way of handling players, etc., etc. etc, BFD. This is standard stuff. Boring even.

        All anonymous. Anonymous sources are taken seriously by the general public if you are talking about informing on drug cartels, assassins for hire or malevolent aliens plotting to take over the Earth.

        Not for soccer coaches that play favorites or act a little too new age.

        It would have been a lot different it had been “ Mikey says the c**++***er who undermined my dad is now undermining this team!”.

        Now that’s an article with punch that might have some legs on the national stage. Dogs and cats living in harmony and all that.

        But Mikey has never said that and has never been anything but professional in terms of what he has said about JK.

        JK is used to the outside pressure a national team manger gets which you would know if you read the link I attached. I didn’t see JK being called before a session of Congress because of the article, to explain why he did not treat Captain America better.
        This is the USA not Germany where there is real pressure on national team managers. Soccer is a third or fourth tier sport with the major sports media outlets and people in supermarkets do not yell at JK after a team loss.

        You are also assuming these people who agree with you would have brought pressure on JK to change his ways. How exactly were you guys going to do that?

        Rip him apart on SBI and every other internet site? That already happens anyway.

        When it came out, I posted that I thought JK paid Strauss to write the article to get a little buzz, a little us against the world thing going after the Honduras loss.

        If I were him I sure would have. JK should have made Strauss a staff writer or something.

        As for the changes that the team underwent after the article came out, correlation is not necessarily the same as causation.

        While the article might have had some effect it is unlikely it had anywhere near the impact you suggest it did.

        This was a team that was and still is in the middle of a huge transition process. Changes were and still are inevitable.

        Anyone who thinks the team would have stayed the same as it was after the initial Honduras loss, Strauss or not, is wildly unrealistic.

        Around the time of the Honduras loss no one knew what Donovan would be like, post Cambodia. No one knew Dolo, Holden and Gatt would be done for as far as Brazil is concerned or that Chandler would most likely not be available. That’s four players who, were they available and healthy today, would dramatically alter how this team looks today

        It is always about the players and the team you will see in Brazil will be the result mostly of a three year weeding out process where injuries and loss of form removed some from consideration and “belief “ and continued good play helped others emerge.

        And that team is likely to be significantly different from the one we saw lose to Honduras almost a year ago.

      • Last week I read an article about Wenger because of his 1000 game with Arsenal. It reported how he came into the team as one of the first foreign managers in English football and no one in England knew about him. He came in and changed all sorts of things like training, even the players’ eating habits and was met by all sorts of player grumbling and complaining. A lot of the complaints about Klinsmann sounded eerily similar and makes he wonder if he got a lot of his ideas from Wenger. Anyway, any time you have a manager come in and shake things up, you are going to have unhappy players who were used to the old ways. The fact that players were complaining about Klinsmann is not surprising since he insisted they work harder and he wouldn’t guarantee the spots of anyone. Much, too much has been made of that article. Things would have worked out the same without it.

      • Mr. Page,

        Wenger was, I believe, JK’s manager at Monaco.

        JK has often cited him as a major influence and a friend.

        As far as what JK has done, all the dirty details aside, he has set in place a philosophy of no one’s place on the team is safe. I believe that because Landon Donovan said so himself.

        Whatever you think of him he has a reputation for being the most honest and straight forward interview on the USMNT.

        The other thing he has done is scoured the globe for the dual nationals because he has seen that what this program needs is an injection of quality. Why?

        Because the US programs needs them and not just German ones.
        The quality brought by the dual nats does two things, it pushes everyone else to be better and it gives them living examples of how to act.

        It is a standard tactic. Ask David Beckham who his idol was and he will tell you it was Eric Cantona a Frenchman who taught him much of what he needed to know about being a top flight pro, a lot of English kids of Beckham’s generation will tell you that.

        Did any of you notice how passionate JK was about giving Holden a shot? That’s because, besides being a special player, he could have been a Cantona like figure for American kids.

        Dempsey is a one off and Donovan is too much of a mercurial genius for anyone to emulate him. But Holden with his incredible story is a much more accessible yet equally skilled player to those two.

        And Stu is far more charismatic than either one of the dynamic duo.

        That’s why I say the single most influential factor for this team leading up to this World Cup is injuries, not some pusillanimous article

      • I disagree with the perception that Klinnsmann favors German players. Boyd has gotten very little playing time, I believe he deserves a closer look. Williams hasn’t gotten much playing time even though he was a starter in the Bundesliga and is currently playing really well in the English Championship. Morales, has gotten virtually no playing time. Wooten never gets called. Chandler is MIA. The only Germans that have gotten significant playing time are Jones and Johnson.

      • that is a fair point only as it applies to the past twelve months (post-Stauss article). Chandler’s level of noncommitment to a team going through qualification and Gold Cup prior to that was comical, as most fans following the team since 2011 can attest to… and then JK was hypocritical in the way brought him right in, yet froze out LD, whose lifetime contribution to the USMNT is in the stratosphere compared to Chandler.

        Jones had been given lots more rope to make egregious mistakes and his spot was never challenged like every other US team vet was by JK (i.e. Bradley, Jozy, Donovan)…. Williams career went into a bit of a tailspin in Germany and Boyd is the only one in my mind whose on field play week in and week out should warrant more of a look than he’s gotten previously.

        FJ has some ups and downs but is miles ahead of other options

      • Blokhin,

        The Strauss article came out at the beginning of 2013, after the Honduras loss and with 9 games left in the Hex and the Gold Cup tournament still to come.

        You seem to believe this idea that the article influenced the development of the team moving forward from that point.

        There is no credible evidence that the article put any sort of unusual pressure on JK.

        More to the point, a combination of injuries and a loss of form ( in no particular order, Dolo, Chandler, Gatt, Donovan, Williams, Corona, Dempsey, Jozy, Herculez, Shea, Boca, etc.) have had a far more powerful effect on how the team is set up and on what JK does going forward.

        In fact I would say the single most influential event was Donovan taking his sabbatical.

        What evidence do you have that the changes that occurred in the team from that point on would not have happened had that article never been published ?

      • the evidence is….Timmy Chandler not being called in since-for Hex games,Gold Cup and European friendlies, even in times when he was healthy…

      • Which games?

        Nuremberg is now managed by Verbeek, who has no great love for JK. As I recall, Chandler has had an up and down season and for most of those US games he was not playing well anyway.

        It was only fairly recently that Chandler has gotten it all together, was playing really well and was talking about working his way back into the US camp and then he blew up his knee against Bayern Munich. After the Honduras game I got the impression Chandler was not the kind of guy you wanted to call in unless he was very much on top of his game mentally and physically. Different players get handled differently.

      • he got benched at his club, that’s why JK stopped calling him up. JK had an interview about this over the winter. there was the whole mental thing as well.

        as Chandler said in January of this year, he got dropped from his squad and was not in the right place mentally. he said he was in a better place and feeling better than ever. then he proceed to play well in the Bundesliga until his injury.

      • For those who say JK favors Germans, I have this question. What German-Americans are playing regularly who have non-German Americans behind them? Do people actually think Beckerman is better than JJones? Or FJohnson on the left–since we still don’t know who will be in the midfield and on the wings, how can you complain about him? He has rarely played when we had our full complement of midfielders and he has played well, anyway.

      • What German-Americans are playing regularly who have non-German-Americans behind them who are better, is what that should have said.

      • I didn’t say he should start but if he’s trying out for a spot on Brazil this is where he gets to show what he brings to the table.
        This is not a team. This is a tryout for those that want to make it to Brazil.

  9. I could see Green coming in the 60th or 70th minute. I could also see Green going on loan next season to a Bundesliga 2 team. MLS is also trying to get him on loan from what I heard.

    • He would go to a fellow bundesliga team, Hertha Berlin was trying to work out a loan deal for him before the start of this season but Bayern refused the offer.

      • Hamburg not Hertha Berlin. but yes, he would go to a Bundesliga team if he were to go on loan in Germany.

    • why can you see that? Bayern REJECTED a move to a Bundesliga club, Hamburg, this year because they wanted him. so why would he go to 2. Bundesliga?

      “Green had recently been linked with a temporary switch to Hamburg, but Bayern have no plans to loan out the player” – ESPNFC

      you “heard” MLS wants him? from where? sounds 100% made up.

      • I didn’t know Bayern rejected a move to Hamburg, I was just making a prediction. MLS pursuing Green for a loan, I heard from someone I know affiliated with MLS, who’s been very reliable in the past. I haven’t heard whether Green or Bayern are interested, just that MLS is interested. Feel free to believe me or not, I could care less.

      • i guess i assumed your prediction took into account the past. which was Hamburg wanting to take him on loan but Bayern saying no.

        well, that would be interesting but i doubt it happens given how important he seems to be to Bayern’s plans moving forward. but i’ll take your word for it. i don’t know anyone affiliated with MLS who can say otherwise.

        also, i believe you mean you “couldn’t care less”. saying you “could care less” means you do actually care and that it’s possible for you to care less 😉

  10. I don’t expect him to make his debut, but I could be wrong. I suppose it all depends on how well he has integrated into the team in training. I expect this match to be a watch and soak it in type of experience. I hope he makes it onto the field, and I’d honestly love to see him get a full shift and a chance to open his scoring account.

  11. Throwing any player into a USA v. Mexico match for their first start would be brutal. It’s barely a soccer game sometimes.

    • Not that there isn’t precedent, Besler’s first start as a nat was away to Mexico during the qualifiers. I think we see Green for 30 minutes.

    • That’s so true. It can be brutal. And as long as Rafa Maquez plays, I would keep anyone out who might not know his shenanigans. He broke several of Shea Salinas’ ribs in a Red Bulls game against the Earthquakes. I have also seen some really bad simulations of injury. If you don’t know some of those things as a young player, it might be a rude awakening. And then there are the referees who might have a deal with the Mexicans; who knows.

  12. Not meaning to hijack the thread but…..

    Has anyone seen Nike’s “Away” jersey and short? it’s horribly…
    Nike had a chance to establish a “basic” US jersey for years to come but failed… I wonder who they have as designers.

    I won’t buy anything Nike anymore…..

  13. I think it would be a dickish move to not even put JG in the match, or give him less than 15 minutes. Why? Because JK made a big deal about recruiting him and tweeting about the switch. Moreover, now that Bayern has clinched, Green had a good chance of making the 18 and actually playing a few matches. It would be obnoxious to have him as the team’s sole European player sit on the bench. If you don’t intend to use him, he’s just roster filler.

  14. Captain’s armband.
    Actually JK should seriously do this as a joke, with everyone on the team in on it, just to troll the entire fanbase.

      • Just when I thought they couldn’t do any worse than the home jersey, they come out with this!?!?!? Horrible. Absolutely horrible.

        Here’s my theory about these jersey designs. The marketers are targeting the casual fans who come out of the woodwork for the WC and like these kind of designs. Then next year, the jerseys will revert back to more classic designs. Thoughts anyone?

      • These comments are further instances that its extremely tough to please american supporters!! Clearly there is nothing USSF, JK or Nike for that matter, can do to please the masses and I for one shouldn’t be surprised but its still comical in a sense! There has yet to be a kit that people have been on board with and if there was someone wither has an issue with the flag, logo or something silly such as a single strip! I’m in the minority because i happen to love the away kits and yes people are entitled to their opinions but i just don’t get the constant negativity! What a world!

      • to what constant negativity do you refer?

        anyway, I loved the uni with the sash, the dark blue ones…you know which ones I’m talking about? Me and my son both have one, and he has the white home uni too from that series

        no offense, but what’s comical to me are the unis 🙂

      • Here’s an idea: how bout making an iconic home and away kit? And years later, tweaking it slightly? That could never work, and people would stop buying jerseys altogether.

        That is what US fans want. Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Spain, etc. You want to be a footballing nation, you have a proper kit.

    • In another unexpected shuffle of the coaching staff, Jurgen Klinsmann today named Steve Sampson his top assistant for the WC in Brazil.

      • Ives,

        How did you miss the quote about Klinsmann rolling out the 3-6-1 versus Germany?

        “Berti and I were very impressed with the USA game plan in 1998. The fought hard and we would like to take a similar approach, only with better players in a 3-6-1.”


      • If this is NOT an April Fools day bit, this could actually work!

        It would frustrate “Ze Hell” out of the Germans. Imagine trying to get through that midfield for 60 minutes only to see two fresh legged DM’s (Edu for Jones/Williams for Beckerman) come in to chase and obfuscate for an additional 30. Then you could bring on Fabian for Zusi (’80), convert to a 4-2-3-1 and try to nick a goal in the last 10 minutes + Stoppage Time






        That is friggin’ crazy BUT MAYBE “Crazy like a Fox”

  15. So you get him to make the switch a couple months before the world cup, then fly him half way across the world just to hang out with guys?

    • “Just hang out with some guys”…or…train with the team for just the second time ever and begin learning the team system and individual styles/personalities. Just because an 18 year old doesn’t play 90 minutes doesn’t mean they’re not getting valuable experience.

  16. JK is saying all the correct things here, as any high profile coach would do.
    Then when he starts him, he can say:

    “The players were tremendous how well they welcomed him, and his prior experience training with the team helped acclimate him quickly, and he responded with a very strong showing in training, we felt like we needed to assess him in a game setting with his new mates”
    “Luckily we’ve seen what Graham and Landon and our Captain Clint Dempsey can do, so giving Julian as much time with this squad we felt was important to what we’re trying to accomplish”

    (P.S.- didn’t you guys already see my whiteboard where I penciled him in??? Duhhh)

  17. “We want to just see him being welcomed by the group… We want him to grow into that group and I think the players will help him tremendously doing that because it’s always been a strength of any American team to welcome new players, young players into the group. We want to make him feel comfortable and then hopefully we get the opportunity to see him on the field on Wednesday night as well…”

    It’s striking how fundamentally American Klinsmann sounds when he says things like this, or like in his reaction to Green’s decision recently. Especially when you consider his own background and compare to some of the drastically different things said by followers of the team who are (presumably) American born and raised…

  18. “We don’t want to put any type of pressure on him or too high expectations,” said Klinsmann.

    I take that to mean that he won’t be starting.

    We’re going to help this development and how fast everything can then proceed is up to him.

    I take that to mean that if he doesn’t flub it during training that he gets to play some minutes against Mexico…which everyone already is rightly or wrongly assuming.

    • None of this is surprising, Klinsi has always been a pecking order guy, so Green will come on in the second half behind the regulars.

      I also think it’s important with players like him and Brooks to make sure everyone concerned gets that some players are in camp for the longer term, while some 30 year old is there to do something now or never.

    • I take the second statement as meaning, “If he earns playing time for Bayern in the next month, we’re bringing him. If he doesn’t earn time, he knows I can’t justify it. That part is up to him.”

      • Bundesliga playing time looks like a foregone conclusion (or at least more likely), now that BM have won the league, and will focus on UCL.

      • I’ve said it here before, but grant wahl has reported that green himself doesn’t think he’ll even train with the bayern first team again until the summer.

      • that’s interesting and i had not seen that report from Wahl. it seems to go against what Stammers said over the winter break.

        hopefully Green is just being humble.

    • I think you are right on target with this reading, but certainly most people are interested to see him get enough time on the field and on the ball to show what he’s got.

    • There will be a minimum of 1500 comments in tomorrow’s game recap. Multiple posters will stay up all night. Expat will be hosipitalized due to a seizure caused by either joy or despair. Count on it.

      See you all there!


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