Green: The World Cup has helped me progress
Julian Green has returned to Munich from the World Cup after a stunning debut on the global footballing stage. As an 18-year-old FC Bayern II regular he scored 15 goals in 23 matches in the Bavarian Regionalliga last season and was a shock inclusion in the USA's World Cup squad. Shortly after turning 19 he made a spectacular impact in Brazil by coming on as an extra-time substitute in the USA's Round of 16 match against Belgium and scoring with his first touch.
Green, who only made his national team debut in April, spoke to fcbayern.de about his adventure in Brazil. How was it in South America? What experience did he gain? And what does it mean for the coming season at Bayern?
Interview: Julian Green
fcbayern.de: Hello Julian! You returned to Germany a couple of days ago. What's the prevailing feeling? The euphoria of your performance or the disappointment of the dramatic elimination in the Round of 16?
Julian Green: Of course we’d have loved to win against Belgium, but despite that I look back with pride because no-one other than us expected us to survive a group with Germany, Ghana and Portugal. And the fact that I also got to make an appearance in the knockout round and score a goal means a lot to me.
How nervous were you when Jürgen Klinsmann signaled you should get ready to come on?
There was a little tension but I wasn’t nervous. I was just really happy to be coming on.
How surprised were you even to be included in the 23-player World Cup roster?
I wasn't that surprised. I trained well in camp and the coach and my team-mates always gave me the feeling that I belonged, even though I was the youngest in the squad. I always tried to conduct myself normally and not as the 'young' Julian.
So how was it for you in Brazil? How stressful was it there?
Overall it was a great experience, even though it was very exhausting. We traveled to a new location every four days, and for us squad players the training was harder. The climate in our camp in Sao Paolo was pleasant, but in other places the humidity was extremely high. That's why we prepared in Flordia and California.
How did you find the atmosphere in Brazil?
On the way to training and games countless people were standing on the road and cheered us. It was obvious that everyone in Brazil is crazy about football. Even in the stadiums the atmosphere was always sensational. And what we saw on the internet, Twitter and on TV was also great.
Soccer fever broke out in the USA. Did you pick upon any of that?
Sure, that was impressive. I never expected so many fans to cheer and keep their fingers crossed for us. More viewers watched our game against Germany than the NBA finals.
Even President Barack Obama sent messages of support - and invited you to the White House…
It's a great honor and I definitely want to be there. But I still don't know when that's going to happen.
So how has the World Cup helped you as a player?
The experience has definitely helped me progress. I was able to watch the best players in the world up close, Cristiano Ronaldo for example. His presence on the field, his ambition, his posture. Experiencing that up close was great.
What goals do you have heading into the new season at Bayern?
After my vacation everything starts again from zero, but I’ll carry a lot of confidence and experience with me from Brazil to Munich, so I’m looking forward to the new season. I want to be able to stand my ground at FC Bayern.
In late July and early August you’ll be touring in the US with FC Bayern. How excited are you about that?
The trip is something special for me. I love the country, I was born there and I’m always glad to be there. At our game against the MLS All Stars I’ll also meet some of my team-mates from the national team. I'm very much looking forward to the tour.
But first up is vacation. Where will you be going?
I don't know when or where I'll go yet. I’ll decide spontaneously. The most important thing will be to relax!