Julian Green is the surprise call-up to the U.S. preliminary World Cup 2014 roster. Green, a native of Tampa, Florida, has dual citizenship in Germany and the U.S. The Germans wanted the 18-year-old Green to join their ranks, but Green has decided to wear the red, white and blue as the youngest player on the roster.
Here’s what you need to know about U.S. Soccer’s latest star:
1. Green Spent Most of His Life Living in Germany
Green has lived in Germany since he was 2 years old. His mother is German and his father is American. He played for Germany at youth levels before switching his allegiance to the U.S. in March 2014, when he was first called up to the U.S. team. Soccer players of dual-citizenship can switch their nationality once.
Green said of the change:
I was born in Florida and my father still lives there, so I have deep roots in the U.S. I’m very proud to be representing the United States.
FIFA has approved change of nationality for Julian Green–he's eligible to play for USMNT immediately.
— Sunil Gulati (@sunilgulati) March 24, 2014
On April 2, Green made his first appearance in a U.S. shirt as a substitute against Mexico. The game finished in a 2-2 tie.
2. He Plays for One of the Biggest Clubs in the World
Green has been playing with Bayern Munich, one of the most famous soccer teams in the world, since November 2013 when he signed a professional contract. His first game for the team came against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League later that month. He made the team’s roster for the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup, replacing the legendary Arjen Robben, who was injured.
3. His Father Is Retired U.S. Military
His father, Jerry Green, is a retired member of the U.S. Military. Julian’s mother took her sons (Julian has an older brother named Justin) to her native Germany when Julian was just 2 years old. Though his parents were still together at that stage, Jerry Green had a job in Florida that he didn’t want to leave. Eventually, Julian’s parents separated and divorced.
4. He Could Have Been a Hockey Star
In his youth, Julian was also a hockey prodigy. According to Jerry Green, when his elder son, Justin, took up hockey, Julian swiftly followed. Jerry said:
Julian is very good at watching and observing and imitating. He used to go with Justin to hockey practice, and he would go in the corner and skate in circles. And at some point Justin’s coach say, ‘Hey, Julian you can join us to practice.’ And he wouldn’t for two years. And the reason was he wanted to become a great skater before he played. I mean, someone that young [Green was 6 at the time] thinking like that.
His father called Julian one of the best hockey players in Munich.
5. To Get to Brazil, Green Must Take Brek Shea Out of the Roster
If Julian wants to get on the plane to Brazil as part of Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23-man final roster, it’s likely he’ll have to displace Brek Shea. Shea, at age 24, is far more experienced than Green. But Bleacher Reports thinks Green is far superior to Shea. About Shea, columnist John Halloran wrote:
In the past two years, Shea has only made five appearances for Stoke City and has played a grand total of 31 minutes this year in the English Premier League.
His loan to Championship side Barnsley this season was also cut short after Shea became involved in an ugly incident with fans.
Finally, when Shea has been given longer stints of playing time with the U.S., his lack of possession skills or any ability to put in a decent cross have been evident.