One of the more enigmatic personalities in the MNT player pool, Julian Green announced his return to the U.S. Men’s National Team picture by scoring in each of the team’s October friendlies against Cuba and New Zealand.
The MNT attacker moved from German giants Bayern Munich to second division side Stuttgart on Dec. 21, in a bid for more playing time and to help Die Roten earn promotion back to the Bundesliga.
Here are five things to know about the 21-year-old attacker:
Munich by Way of Tampa
Green was born in Tampa, Fla. to an American father and German mother in 1995. At age two, his mother moved with him back to Germany, where the future MNT attacker spent his formative years.
Growing up in a soccer-mad country, Green proved a promising prospect with youth clubs FC Miesbach and SG Hausham before stepping up to join the Bayern Munich Academy as a 15-year-old in 2010.
Germany or USA?
As he thrived in the club’s development system, Green began to receive invitations from German youth national teams, playing for both the U-16 and U-17 sides in 2011. Owing to his American heritage, Green also began receiving overtures from the U.S. U-18 MNT the following year and scored in a 4-2 friendly victory against the Netherlands in September 2012.
Having signed a professional contract with Bayern Munich as an 18-year-old in 2013, the rising prospect represented Germany during qualifying for the 2014 UEFA U-19 Championship that fall. His participation in that tournament meant that he was provisionally “tied” to represent only Germany in international competition. Despite this, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann kept up his pursuit to have the American-born attacker wear the red, white and blue, and the budding attacker eventually filed for a one-time change of associations with FIFA, which was approved March 24, 2014.
Speaking about his final decision to represent the United States, Green said, “Obviously this was a big decision, and I spent a long time discussing it with my family. I was born in Florida and my father still lives there, so I have deep roots in the U.S. I’m very proud to be representing the United States.”Two days later, Green received his first official call-up for the MNT and made his international debut as a second-half substitute against Mexico on April 2, 2014 in Glendale, Ariz.
World Cup and "The Goal"
On May 22, 2014, Green was somewhat surprisingly named to the 23-man squad that would represent the United States at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. With just one cap to his name and turning 19 days before the start of the tournament, Green was the youngest player named to a U.S. World Cup roster since 18-year-old Joe Martinelli was part of the MNT squad at the 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy.
An unused sub as the U.S. navigated a difficult group featuring Ghana, Portugal and eventual winners Germany, the youngster was thrown into the fire during the MNT’s Round of 16 match against Belgium. Riding Tim Howard’s impressive performance into extra time, Belgium scored two in the first half of the first additional period to put the United States on the ropes.
Needing goals fast, Green was inserted in place of Alejandro Bedoya at the end of the first 15 minutes of extra time. It took just two more minutes for him to make good on the swap as Green impressively volleyed home Michael Bradley’s lofted ball in the 107th minute. The quick goal made Green the youngest MNT player all-time to appear and score in a World Cup match, but it wasn’t enough to keep the U.S. team alive, as they exited the tournament with a 2-1 defeat.
Returning to Bayern Munich and Loan at Hamburg
Coming off his memorable strike at the World Cup, Green returned to Bavaria where he was named as part of Bayern Munich’s first team squad for the 2014-15 season. Still young, he found it hard to gain playing time with the German giants and was sent out on loan to fellow Bundesliga club Hamburg at the start of 2015.
Things didn’t necessarily go according to plan with HSV, as Green played sparingly during his loan stint and returned to Bayern following the season. Without much in the way of first team minutes, call-ups for the senior MNT stalled, but Green still found time with the U.S. U-23 side while playing mostly with Bayern Munich’s reserve team through 2015-16.
A National Team Return
With his last full MNT cap coming at the end of 2014, Green was recalled to the U.S. team for a friendly against Puerto Rico back in May. While the camp did feature National Team regulars Brad Guzan, Bobby Wood and John Brooks, the week of training leading up to the match was deemed as a transitional camp for Copa America Centenario and included a number of first-time call-ups as well as players in similar situations to Green.
While it seemed his 63 minutes against Puerto Rico would be his sole action of 2016, Green made headlines again in August when he scored a hat trick for Bayern Munich in a preseason match against Inter Milan in Charlotte. Training everyday with the likes of international stars Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, Green has continued to find it difficult to get time on the field for the club, but has still consistently made the match day 18-man roster.
While it seemed his 63 minutes against Puerto Rico would be his sole action of 2016, Green was a late call-up to the MNT’s October camp, replacing Alejandro Bedoya for friendlies against Cuba and New Zealand. Like Sacha Kljestan a month earlier, Green made the most of his chance, contributing to both goals in the MNT’s 2-0 win against Cuba and scoring the lone marker in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against New Zealand.
Longtime Bundesliga participants, Die Roten (the Reds), were relegated from the German topflight last season, but are currently locked in a tight bid to gain promotion. As of his signing, Stuttgart sat third in the league, just two points back of first-place Eintracht Braunschweig.
A fresh start in Stuttgart should provide Green ample playing time as he works to get the club back to the Bundesliga and with eight caps and three goals to his name, the 21-year-old will hope regular minutes will make him a part of new MNT head coach Bruce Arena’s plans.
During the past few months, Lynden Gooch has become one of the most intriguing prospects for the U.S. Men’s National Team. Here are five things to know about the rising MNT winger.
Where It All Started
Born on Christmas Eve 1995 to an English father and Irish mother in Santa Cruz, Calif., Gooch has said he was kicking a soccer ball from the moment he could walk.
A long-time supporter of Tottenham Hotspur, his father also served as his club coach with a number of sides, including the U.S. Soccer Development Academy’s Santa Cruz Breakers.
“Without my dad, I wouldn’t be the player I am today,” Gooch said in a recent Facebook Live chat. “He brought me up to play with both feet and to be creative. I’m very thankful for what he’s done for me.”
As a 10-year-old, Gooch took a club trip to England where he scored a hat trick against Sunderland. That occurrence began a long-time connection with one of northeast England’s biggest clubs, with the Black Cats inviting the promising midfielder for training every spring and summer at the Stadium of Light.
After impressing on his trips to England, Gooch signed with the club’s youth academy in 2012, progressing from their U-16 side all the way up to the U-21s. A loan spell with Conference side Gateshead in early 2015 opened the door for his first team debut with Sunderland, which came in a 6-3 League Cup win against Exeter City on Aug. 26, 2015.
Gooch gained more first team experience with a loan to League One outfit Doncaster Rovers in January before returning to Sunderland this spring.
Under the guidance of David Moyes, who has also managed Americans Tim Howard, Brian McBride and Landon Donovan during their time in England, Gooch made his league debut for the club in this year’s season opener against Manchester City and earned Man of the Match honors in the club’s 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough on August 21.
Capable of playing as a winger, second forward and in central midfield, the 20-year-old has been a constant in the club’s matchday squad through their early Premier League campaign.
Owing to his mother’s Irish heritage, Gooch’s first international call-up actually came from the Republic of Ireland’s U-18 squad in 2013. Though he played in a friendly match against Switzerland, the California-born midfielder always had his heart set on representing the United States, and two years later he helped the U.S. U-20s qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, though he didn’t make the final roster.
U.S. MNT Comes Calling
Despite missing out on the FIFA U-20 World Cup, Gooch’s play at Sunderland kept him on the radar of the U.S. Men’s National Team. His start to the 2016-17 English Premier League campaign earned him his senior team call-up for the MNT’s October friendlies in 2016 and would make his international debut when he entered for Kellyn Acosta in the 59th minute of a 1-1 draw with New Zealand on Oct. 11.
Recalled for the MNT’s November World Cup Qualifying matches, Gooch’s substitute appearance away to Costa Rica on Nov. 15 officially cap-tied him to the United States.
Growing up near San Jose, Calif., Gooch was able to watch budding American superstar Landon Donovan week-in and week-out during his time with the San Jose Earthquakes, and from afar always admired Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs.
On a more personal level, the 20-year-old attacker also admitted he was a big fan of former U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu, whose nickname matches his own last name.
Learn more about Lynden Gooch by watching his recent Facebook Live chat:
Photos from the U.S. Men’s National Team 1-1 draw against New Zealand in an international friendly on Oct. 11 at RFK Stadium. The match featured a first half goal from Julian Green and a goal-line save late in the game from Michael Orozco.Read more