U.S. Soccer makes it official: Julian Green has applied to play for the United States

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News that originally broke Tuesday afternoon has been confirmed by U.S. Soccer, with the federation announcing 18-year-old Julian Green has begun the process of becoming  a U.S. international.

Having already appeared once for Germany in an official FIFA competition, the Tampa, Fla.-born winger must file for a one-time change of association, but with U.S. Soccer having confirmed that filing, Green has begun the process of joining the United States’ national teams.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Julian has chosen to be a part of the U.S. National Team Programs,” head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in a statement, distributed by U.S. Soccer. “As we have said, he is a very special talent. We wanted him to feel comfortable with our program and listen to his heart when making this decision.”

The decision means Green would no longer represent Germany, where he was eligible to compete as a dual citizen. Having appeared in European U-19 Championship qualifying with the Germans, Green had to apply to FIFA for a one-time change of association. Once the process is completed, the winger will be tied to the United States’ national teams.

“I personally want to thank Kalle Rummenigge and everyone at Bayern Munich for their support through this process,” Klinsmann said, with Green currently under contract to the European champions. “He is an exciting player with a tremendously bright future.”

That future is currently being realized with Bayern’s second team: Bayern Munich II. Playing in the fourth division, the team sits atop their league’s standings thanks in large part for Green’s 15 goals in 21 appearances. The former U.S. international also made a brief UEFA Champions League appearance earlier this fall, coming on for two minutes in Bayern’s 3-1 victory at CSKA Moscow.

Green had previously trained with the U.S. in Frankfurt ahead of the team’s recent friendly against Ukraine, an experience Green cited as crucial in his decision to switch to his country of birth.

“A big part of the decision was the experience I had in Frankfurt,” Green said, via U.S. Soccer. “All the players were super nice and welcomed me from the beginning.

“Clint Dempsey gave me a jersey with my name on it, and the way they supported me gave me a lot of belief. The coaches have shown a lot of trust in me, and now I hope to do everything I can to earn a spot on the World Cup roster.”

It’s a possibility that will fuel fan speculation over the next couple of months, with the U.S.’s ability to secure this switch before this summer’s tournament a potential sign of Klinsmann’s intent. Invited to join the national team for training ahead of Apr. 2’s friendly against Mexico, Green will get a chance to impress his new national team boss before the U.S.’s pre-World Cup training camp in May.

Whether he makes the World Cup squad or not, Green will be bound to the U.S., should his one-time transfer go through, a permanency that underscored the gravity of his decision.

“Obviously this was a big decision, and I spent a long time discussing it with my family,” Green explained. “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.”

Landon Donovan unveiled by Club Leon

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Landon Donovan was unveiled to Club Leon fans at Estadio Leon on Monday night.

The former USMNT star and longtime LA Galaxy forward came out of retirement for the second time to sign with the Liga MX side this past weekend. Leon finished 7th in the Apertura table, losing to Tigres in the first round of the playoffs. They currently have a perfect six points through the first two Clausura matches, sitting second in the table with a +3 goal differential.

Fans were allowed into the stadium for free, and they packed the lower stand on one end, waving USA flags and holding large “L” and “D” cutouts, and the fans faced a massive board on the field that read “I DON’T BELIEVE IN WALLS.” Chants of “U-S-A” rang out through the stadium before the unveiling.

ESPN reporter Tom Marshall pointed out that the last time the club had such a large event to welcome a player, it was in January of 2013 when the club brought Mexico captain Rafa Marquez in from the New York Red Bulls.

Donovan will don the number 20 for Club Leon.

Report: Rimando to return to RSL

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USMNT veteran and current MLS free agent Nick Rimando will reportedly return to Real Salt Lake for a 12th season with the club, according to a report by Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep.

The report states he received interest on the free agent market from both Los Angeles clubs, but the 38-year-old will return to the club he has made 350 appearances for.

Rimando came to Real Salt Lake from D.C. United in 2006, and has made at least 24 league appearances in every single season since. He has also made 22 playoff appearances for the club across eight playoff campaigns.

He last received a USMNT cap in January of 2017 in a friendly against Serbia, but was part of the 2018 World Cup qualification squad throughout 2017 backing up Tim Howard. Overall, Rimando has played 22 times for the US national team, with 14 goals conceded and nine clean sheets.

The report also states that Kyle Beckerman will return to Rio Tinto Stadium, with the veteran also testing the free agent waters but deciding to re-sign. The pair will be two of just four players left on the roster from the 2009 MLS Cup winning team.

Report: Aubameyang hands in transfer request at Dortmund

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According to German publication Bild, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has handed a transfer request to the Borussia Dortmund hierarchy.

Arsenal is the latest club linked with the Gabonese striker, with reports earlier this month of a deal to send Aubameyang to China. He has reportedly asked to leave Dortmund multiple times this January, and has been turned down thus far, and it’s causing problems. Aubameyang was suspended by the club for one match for missing a meeting last week, a match that ended in a goalless draw with Wolfsburg.

[ MORE: Man United, Chelsea battle for Alexis Sanchez ]

“We had a very heated discussion,” said Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc after the suspension was announced. “He hasn’t behaved like this for years, he’s always been very professional. What has happened is very tolerable, there will be some fines, too. It’s not necessary to talk about a transfer, but it’s clear that things can’t continue like this because some important things are in jeopardy, and that there is tension inside the squad.”

The price tag, according to recent reports, would be around $76 million, and he would be purchased with money from the likely outgoing transfer of Alexis Sanchez.

Arsenal transfer guru Sven Mislintat is reportedly driving the deal, having signed Aubameyang at Dortmund during his days as a scout from Westfalinstadion. However, there is buzz among the British media that Arsene Wenger is unimpressed by Aubameyang’s recent insubordination and has expressed his concerns.

Emre Can says new Liverpool contract still a possibility

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Liverpool midfielder Emre Can is out of contract this summer, but says he could still sign back on at Anfield despite heavy rumors of his departure.

Still just 24 years old, the German came over from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2014 and has improved in each of his four years at Liverpool, flourishing under Jurgen Klopp as a strong passer and versatile player who can be used in midfield or defense. With that, he has reportedly turned down a number of new contract offers, and Juventus is reportedly in the lead to sign him to a free transfer.

[ MORE: Arsenal should follow Liverpool’s rebuilding example ]

Can is eligible to sign a pre-contract agreement with anyone from now until the end of the season, but he says that doesn’t mean he will leave.

“My agent is looking after everything but I am here until the summer,” Can said. “I haven’t signed anything with anyone. I am talking with everyone. Of course I am talking with Liverpool. Why not? I still have a contract here. It is an amazing club. What can I say? My agent does the rest. I just concentrate on the scene, on my performance and the football. I will give everything for this team.”

The loss of Philippe Coutinho this winter is an obvious blow to the Reds, but an argument could be made that the loss of Can would hurt just as much if not more, as stout defensive midfielders are hard to come by. However, the arrival of Naby Kieta this summer could ease the blow of the German’s potential departure. Should Can stay, partnering with Keita in midfield could prove masterful as Liverpool looks to continue building towards a title challenge. Currently, Can has paired with Giorgino Wijnaldum in Liverpool’s midfield in recent weeks, and the club is on a five-match win streak that has seen them shoot into third place in the Premier League table.