Throughout Jurgen Klinsmann‘s two-and-a-half-year tenure in charge of the U.S. Men’s National Team, the coach has preached to his players that advancing their play at the highest level is a necessity. Additionally, he has upped the level of competition in practices, pushed players to go on loan when they aren’t getting playing time and has genuinely brought a new offensive flair to the team that has never existed.
The only problem in taking the team from a contender for the knockout stages at the World Cup to a genuine contender to win has been a lack of talent, but now it appears the U.S. has at least one crack at changing that. This would come in the form of Julian Green, an 18-year-old who was born in Tampa, Fla., but moved to Germany at a very young age and is now one of the best young forward prospects in the world. Currently he plays for Bayern Munich II, and has scored an astounding 15 goals in 18 games, and he even earned an opportunity to earn a debut appearance for Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League this year.
To current date, he has turned down overtures from the U.S. to represent the country in friendly matches, but just this week he has accepted an offer to practice with the Senior National Team prior to a March friendly in the Ukraine. Green is not eligible to play for the United States yet because he previously played in qualifying rounds U-19 UEFA European Championships with Germany, and he will have to file a one-time only switch to play for the Americans. To secure this switch, it is imperative that Klinsmann offers the 18-year-old a spot on the 2014 World Cup roster, even if this does seem a bit ridiculous at first.
Blessed with the ability to play in any of the front three attacking positions, Green has the mix of pace, touch, shooting ability, passing ability and work ethic that it takes to become a world class player. One must only look at the fact that Bayern Munich — regarded by many as the best club soccer team in the world — has given the 18-year-old a professional contract that runs through 2017 to see he will be featuring for the side in the Bundesliga before long.
Bringing on a talent of this sort for the World Cup does not have as much downside as some people would like to think, as in all likelihood Green would only be taking the last forwards spot on the roster. Few people could make the genuine case that the youngster is a worse option than Chris Wondolowski, Mike Magee or Herculez Gomez, who look to be likely candidates for the last forward spot. None of these guys can truly claim to have a shot at making the difference in Brazil this summer, and while it would be nice to reward their hard work, this is professional sports.
With that being said, you have to take the American team that is going to give you the best opportunity to win both in 2014, and moving forward. That is certainly Green at this point, and the thought of him teaming up with Aron Johansson and Jozy Altidore up front for the next 10 years has to have U.S. fans drooling. Whether a World Cup roster spot will seal the deal at the moment is up for debate, but it certainly couldn’t hurt.