Eighteen year-old Tampa-born Julian Green has started out the new season on Bayern Munich’s reserve team, like he did while playing in preseason friendlies with the senior squad under Pep Guardiola. After being promoted to the reserve squad in early July, Green scored seven goals in the preseason for Die Bayern, and has already netted five times in seven matches for the reserves in the Regionalliga Bayern.
The U.S. U-20 winger, who moved to Germany at the age of 2 and is thus also eligible to represent Germany as an international, is off to a speedy start. And he has not been fazed by performing under the eyes of the legendary coach. Green expressed great excitement about his opportunity to work with Pep and the Bayern stars:
It is a great pleasure and honor and it is fun. And yes, it is definitely a change. Pep Guardiola has his own ideas and his own way to structure the training sessions. That affects not only the tactics on the pitch, but the organization of the teams and training sessions as well. Actually, I got a short, ‘Very good, Julian,’ after the first trainings session in the Allianz Arena
It didn’t hurt Green’s status that he scored a hat trick in Guardiola’s coaching debut in Bavaria, and followed that performance up with another hat trick in Bayern’s next preseason match (both games were against amateur sides). Bavarian Football Works provided this commentary on Green’s performance in the first preseason match:
Julian Green looked very good as well. The 18-year old German-American not only scored three goals (of which one was a cheeky little lob over the keeper), but he was hustling, and generating some nice chances for his teammates with his hard work as well. I’ve read a lot about him, but this is the first time I saw him play, and he looked very promising. Good skill, good speed, and, like I mentioned, showed some hustle.
Footage of his hat trick against Wildenau:
Two seasons ago, Green led Bayern’s U-17 squad with 18 goals. Last year, the youngster scored 10 goals for Bayern’s U-19 in 26 matches. Although Green has played mainly at the center forward position, he can play in a the role of a second striker or winger. The versatile teenager even began his career as a fullback, so it will be interesting to track how Bayern continue to utilize the young German-American’s talents.
Green’s ability to coolly score goals continues at the next level. Able to net with either foot, Green isn’t matching up with Borussia Dortmund, Schalke or Bayer Leverkusen yet, but his Bayern reserves are atop the league thus far against their 4th division Bavarian opponents, and have already beaten the reserve sides of Nürnberg, Greuther Fürth, 1860 and FC Ingolstadt, with a date with FC Augsburg’s reserves scheduled for October 12. The amateur clubs in the league are no pushovers, either, as last year’s top amateur side in the Bayern Regionalliga, FV Illertissen, held Eintracht Frankfurt scoreless for the first hour of their DFB Pokal Round One encounter before Frankfurt scored twice in the latter third of the match. (Regionalliga Bayern side 1860 Rosenheim held 2. Bundesliga side VfR Aalen scoreless for a half in the Pokal’s first round before also succumbing 2-0). With Bayern’s reserve squad also featuring talented teens such as Mitchell Weiser and Pierre Emile Højbjerg under the tutelage of new hire Erik ten Hag, Green should experience playing in a winning environment throughout the season.
Julian’s Youthful Leanings
Growing up in Munich, Green had tryouts with both Bayern and 1860 before getting the thumbs-up from Bayern after an anxious waiting period. Julian’s father Jerry, who maintains close ties with his son despite living a continent apart, commented on the youth’s club leanings:
Ever since he concluded that soccer was his sport, he has concentrated on Bayern Munich. That is his dream. I was looking at his room from 2005 and 2006 and he had all the posters of Bayern Munich. What he’s been able to do these past few weeks has been every kid’s dream. The players he’s playing with now are players in those posters. He’s really focused on doing well. He’s a humble kid. There is nothing better for a dad than see his kid realize his dreams and do something he loves
Sometimes I think we push our kids too fast. Obviously there are some kids that are ready for a high level of competition. But in Julian’s case, he’s a competitor. Wherever he ends playing this year with Bayern, he’ll be ready. He loves the competition, and I think he’ll do well. He has a great coach
Julian, who also played ice hockey before concentrating on football, knows that this season is a new challenge. He cites the improved physicality of players at the fourth division level, but is already proving that he’s capable of competing successfully with the reserve squad.
An International Future?
Young Green claims to not be currently thinking at all about a potential future as an international, either for the U.S. or Germany, and states that he has no preference. His father, however, described himself as being “the proudest father in America” when Julian suited up for Tab Ramos’ U-18 American side last September. An ankle injury, however, sidelined Green from making more appearances and he was not chosen for the for the final American roster for this summer’s U-20 World Cup squad despite being named to the provisional roster.
While Green has spent time in the States and is close to his father’s extended family, he has grown up as German. One factor that may help the American cause in earning Green’s potential commitment should his club career continue to grow would be the coaching ethos of Jurgen Klinsmann. The USMNT’s head man has called up over 60 players to represent their country in just over 24 months in his position. And Klinsmann has not even required senior squad play for a callup — Borussia Dortmund reservist Terrence Boyd earned caps for the American side before the Bremen-born forward had ever seen the pitch for Jürgen Klopp.
But whether Green decides to play for Germany or represent the United States, as other German-Americans such as Boyd, Thomas Dooley, Jermaine Jones, Fabian Johnson and Daniel Williams have done, his future appears entirely promising and one hopes that his continued growth lifts him to the international stage as well as success at the club level.
Many of the quotes used in this article are from Brian Sciaretta’s excellent ASN article on Green from July.