On the day that Julian Green’s change of international association was officially approved by FIFA, USA Today talks with the young Bayern Munich striker’s father, Jerry Green, who recalls his son’s development as both a player and a person across two different continents. While Julian, 18, spent most of his childhood in Germany, he regularly traveled to the U.S. to visit his father, who lives in Tampa, Fla. At one point, he even considered pursuing ice hockey instead of soccer.
During the interview, father Jerry repeatedly points to national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann as being the determining factor behind his son’s decision to switch national team allegiances to the USA. “I think were it another coach…I don’t know if he would be there now,” he said, adding: “Let’s say it was [U.S. U-20 head coach] Tab Ramos — and I’m just using him as an example because I know the name — I’m not sure that we would be where we are right now."
Why? Because with ‘Klinsy,’ as Jerry calls him, “here’s someone Julian identifies with.” The former U.S. military member added: “Klinsy played for Munich, he coached the German national team, on and on and on. He’s won a World Cup. I know there’s a part of Julian that is German, and a part of him thinks, ‘Maybe I should stay and play [for Germany.]‘ But I also believe that there’s a feeling, like a substitution of that, and that is the presence of Klinsmann. In a sense, he’s not playing in Germany, but the leadership that he is looking to for coaching and guidance — they are German. And I think that whole unique situation there is what ultimately won out.”