BRIAN SCIARETTA - Thursday, July 26, 2012
After scoring a team-high 18 goals last season for Bayern Munich's Under-17 team, American forward Julian Green will aim to carry his success over to the prestigious club's U-19 team this year.
Last month Green celebrated his 17th birthday along with his promotion at Bayern Munich U-19 team and now he knows the challenges will become even harder. Bayern's U-19 team will have 25 roster spots as opposed to 20 for the U-17 team. In addition to the bigger team, most of the players he will be older as well.
Despite the intense competition, Green is both optimistic and confident in his chances to establish himself with Bayern's U-19s and continue to be the impact player he was last year.
"Over the past year I have made great improvements in terms of my technique and my physique which will continue to be important to me for the U-19's," Green told YA from Munich. "It will be more challenging for me as a younger player, seeing that I will now play against others who are up to a year older than I am. My goals for this season are exactly that: goals. I strive to gain a position in the starting 11 and score more goals than I did last season."
At Bayern Munich, Green as developed into an extremely versatile attacker that can play multiple positions. Primarily he plays as a central forward or as a withdrawn forward. In addition to his speed, he considers himself to be equally strong with either foot and this has allowed his coaches to also play him at both right and left wing.
Bayern Munich is among the elite teams in the world and Green hopes that in the coming years he can earn a professional contract from the perennial German power. Unlike some elite teams, Bayern has shown an inclination towards developing their first team players as opposed to buying them. This is something that is not lost on Green.
"FC Bayern belongs to an elite circle in the football world where only the best play," Green explained. "So it is only normal that it would be a dream, come true if someday I would be chosen to play for the first team."
"The past has shown that several players from the FC Bayern youth have managed to turn pro and become essential parts of the first team," he added. "In this year's Champions League final alone, five players from the FC Bayern side all had come from their own youth. I will try my best and hope, that I too will be selected for the first team in the near future."
Green was born in Tampa, Florida and is the son of a father who served in the US military and a German mother. He moved back to Germany when he was two years old to live with his mother but he regularly returns to Florida to visit his father.
Green is just one of many German-American prospects who have burst onto the scene in recent years. Since 2010, Jermaine Jones, Danny Williams, Fabian Johnson, Timothy Chandler, David Yelldell, and Terrence Boyd have all been capped by the US national team.
At the youth levels, the numbers are more impressive. Andrew Wooten Royal-Dominique Fennell, Alfredo Morales, and Jann George have played for the US U-23 team while John Anthony Brooks, Jerome Kiesewetter, and Tyrone McCargo have played with the U-20 national team.
For Green, his aware of the increased German presence on the US team and he feels that players who developed in the German system and who have Bundesliga experience will only help the US team.
"I believe it is good that so many US youth players play in Germany because the quality of football here is very high," Green said. "To be the best you have to play with the best and so this high level makes for better players and hence for a better national team."
While Green holds passports for both the United States and Germany, he has yet to represent either country internationally at any youth level. He has never spoken directly with US Soccer but he is aware that US Soccer has asked Bayern Munich about him.
Green's dream is to play international soccer but he would be equally honored to represent either country. Given his youth, however, there will be plenty of opportunity for him in the future. He was born in 1995 and is therefore eligible for both the 2013 and 2015 U-20 World Cups.
"Until this point I have not been approached or spoken to anybody of the US delegation," Green concluded. "I am not disappointed about this or that I have not been capped yet for I know that FC Bayern has been contacted about me. It shows that the US officials have me on their radar. The fact that I have both American and German citizenship gives me the choice [and playing for] the US or Germany would be a great honor for me either way."