U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann said on Friday that he and the U.S. Soccer Federation are taking a go-slow approach with Bayern Munich forward Julian Green.
Green, a dual national who holds both U.S. and German citizenship, will participate in a two-day training camp with the U.S. next week ahead of Wednesday’s friendly with Ukraine. Green is currently tied to Germany due to his participation with the German U-19 team, and thus isn’t eligible to play in Wednesday’s match.
But he could file a one-time switch with FIFA should he decided to pledge his international future with the U.S. team. Next week’s training stint will give Klinsmann a chance to convince Green to do just that.
"We’re thrilled that [Green] is coming in actually" said Klinsmann, who was speaking at a USSF-sponsored Google Hangout. "He’s coming in for the two days of training with team, and we get to know him. More importantly, he gets to know us a little bit. He meets his teammates, he meets the coaching staff, and we have time then to explain a little bit how the U.S. national team program works."
Klinsmann made it clear that he won’t be applying any high-pressure sales tactics on Green. Instead, he’s hoping that the benefits of playing for the U.S. will become clear to the Tampa, Fla. native.
"We kind of approach [Green’s visit] very casual, very easy. But at the end of the day, we hope down the road that he decides to go with us, and like in many cases of the dual citizenship players, we hope more and more that they want to play for the U.S. because we are just getting better."
With just a little over two months remaining until Klinsmann names his preliminary 30-man roster for this summer’s World Cup, there had been speculation that the U.S. manager might be saving a spot for Green.
But Klinsmann insisted that there is no deadline for Green to make a decision.
"We’re not putting anybody under pressure to say, ‘You have to decide after next week that you want to play for the U.S. or for Germany,'" said Klinsmann. "[Green is] 18, 19 years old. It’s all his decision. He has to feel comfortable with what he wants to do in his career, but also in life. This is a big decision to make one day."
But Klinsmann did add that he was encouraged that Green had agreed to train with the U.S. and that he remains hopeful that the Bayern Munich forward, who made his first team debut with his club last November during a UEFA Champions League match against CSKA Moscow, will ultimately opt to play for the U.S.
"Having him come in is a great sign for us, that he’s open to it, and that he wants to meet us, and wants to meet the players. Hopefully we choose him the right roommate," he said with a laugh. "He’s going to have a great experience with us."