Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Father's advice pays off for Fabian Johnson
by Mike Woitalla, May 22nd, 2014 3:36AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

MOST READ
TAGS:  germany, men's national team, world cup 2014

MOST COMMENTED

By Mike Woitalla

There's a very good chance that Fabian Johnson will start at right back for the USA at this summer's World Cup. But he can also play left back, or on either side of midfield.

When he started for Germany in a 4-0 win over England in the 2009 U-21 European Championship final, he played wide right in a midfield that included Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil.

This versatility, which led to a $3.5 million transfer from second division 1860 Munich to defending Bundesliga champion at age 21, Johnson says is thanks to advice from his father.

“My dad just always told me to work on my weaker foot, so I’m almost full-footed,” the 26-year-old Johnson said before training Wednesday at the USA’s camp at Stanford University. “My father also always told me to do my best at every position the coach wants me to play. That’s what I do. Trying to do my best.”

He also credits his fluent English to his father.

“I speak just English with my father because his German is -- I don’t know -- he understands, but his speaking is not so good,” he said.

Charles Johnson, who hails from Michigan, was a basketball player.

“I don’t know if he was pro but he played Bayern Munich,” says Fabian.

Before that, Charles Johnson was a U.S. serviceman stationed in Mannheim, where he met Sylvia, whose father was also American. They moved to Munich, where Fabian was born and started his soccer career with 1860 Munich, which he joined at age 9. He served as a ballboy in Munich's Olympic Stadium as a teen.

In 2011, Fabian got a call from Jurgen Klinsmann and an invitation to the U.S. national team. When he told his parents of the offer, there was no controversy about changing allegiance.

“I told them that Jurgen wants to invite me in and they said congrats,” Fabian said.

At that point, Johnson’s chances of playing for Germany, which he had represented at each age group from U-17 to U-21 from 2003 to 2009, had evaporated. He had been part of the golden generation -- the U-21 Euro 2009 team that, in addition to Khedira and Ozil, included Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng. But during the time that the full national team became a world power again Johnson languished at Wolfsburg.

“After the European Championship, it was quite a hard time for me,” he said. “In two years, I played only 16 games, and that’s not enough for a player who wants to play in the national team.”

A transfer to Hoffenheim revitalized Johnson’s career and caught Klinsmann’s attention. Now Johnson, who moves to Borussia Moenchengladbach next season, is likely to face his former German teammates on June 26 in Recife. What that might be like isn’t something he’s thinking about.

“I’m just looking forward to all of the games -- if I’m going to make it in the squad for the World Cup,” Johnson said. “I’ve never played in a World Cup, so I’m just eager to get into the squad.”


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Il caso Giovinco: Italy's loss is MLS's gain    
Sebastian Giovinco isn't going to the Euros. Italy's loss is MLS's gain. More particularly, Toronto FC ...
Philadelphia Union embarks on its toughest stretch of games to date    
The Philadelphia Union, the Eastern Conference leader, plays in Orlando Wednesday, flies halfway across the country ...
Perry Kitchen finds a new niche in Scotland    
Perry Kitchen left MLS after five seasons though the destination turned out to be somewhat of ...
Howard leaves Everton for a much different MLS and USA    
Is the time right for Brad Guzan to take over as the U.S. No. 1? Both ...
Kamara deal shakes up stagnant Revs    
Nobody can match the production of Kei Kamara since he joined Columbus prior to the 2015 ...
Busy midweek schedules add to unique travel woes in MLS    
No MLS head coach or executive has ever praised the league's schedule-makers. Conflicts with other competitions ...
It's time for Klinsmann to go young    
At first blush, there is nothing startling about the 40-player list from which Jurgen Klinsmann will ...
NYCFC's Pirlo problem won't go away    
Jason Kreis, New York City FC's head coach for its expansion season, never came out and ...
Recent incidents sharpen focus on how video replay can improve the game    
MLS and other North American soccer leagues are awaiting specific guidelines to be issued by FIFA ...
MLS ups the ante on expansion    
Major League Soccer has come a long way in the last decade, let alone the last ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives