The much-anticipated World Cup match between the U.S. and Belgium today has lots of ramifications for American soccer.
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For Julian Green, it means making his debut with a World Cup goal.
Only 19 and with little senior international experience, U.S. fans weren't sure what to expect from Green -- or if he would even see playing time. Green had not played a game at this World Cup going into today's round of 16 match.
Green, a striker, said he has felt welcome on the U.S. team. He ultimately chose to play for the USA because he knew he had a chance to play immediately.
“Klinsmann gave me the feeling that I’m welcome. Clint Dempsey gave me a jersey with my name on it,” Green told ESPN of joining Team USA, even as he was being recruited by Germany’s national team.
Green was born in Tampa, Florida, but raised in Germany since age 2. He started playing for the German team Bayern Munich just last November, although he has been mostly a benchwarmer and a member of the reserve squad.
Green, whose father is American and mother is German, has dual citizenship and had been scouted by Germany's coaching staff as well over the past few years. He had previously played for Germany's various youth teams.
Critics have suggested that Klinsmann, who is also German, chose Green over star Landon Donovan, who was cut from this year’s team right before the World Cup shocked fans. It was a controversial move because Green has only made two appearances for the United States.
But the rookie said he’s excited to show America what he’s got.
“I’m a technically good player,” he said. “I’m fast. I can score goals with my head, with my left foot or my right foot. I want to score goals for America. That’s my job.”
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