On the cusp of Germany's winter break, Julian Green has made a significant change on his career path.
The U.S. forward will leave Bundesliga powerhouse Bayern Munich for second-tier Stuttgart once the January transfer window opens, signing with the club through 2019. The 21-year-old Green, who famously made the USA's 2014 World Cup roster and scored in the round of 16 against Belgium, has found playing time hard to come by under Carlo Ancelotti, despite making the matchday roster on a more frequent basis than he had in the past for the first team.
Green appeared in just two German Cup games this season, scoring one goal. His top highlight with Bayern came in the International Champions Cup friendly tournament in the United States this past summer, when he scored a hat trick against Inter Milan. Green's contract with the club was due to expire at the end of June 2017.
"Julian wants to have a new experience at a club where he'll be a first-team regular," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a club statement. "It was tricky at FC Bayern due to a lot of competition. I wish Julian all the best for the future. He always was a hard-working, reliable and very likeable player for FC Bayern."
Green leaves Bayern, which is contending for a fifth straight Bundesliga title, for Stuttgart, the once-great club and five-time German champion that was relegated last season and is fighting for promotion. It sits third in the 2. Bundesliga, two points out of the automatic promotion places, and is coached by Hannes Wolf. Stuttgart employs another young U.S. international, 20-year-old midfielder Joel Soñora, who joined the club last January from the Boca Juniors youth ranks.
"I joined Bayern's U-15s and like everyone dreamed of being a pro, and I've made it," Green said. "I've gained a lot of experience over the last three years. It was good, I'm glad about it and thankful. I took my time and tried everything. It's over for me now I've decided for Stuttgart. I'll set myself new goals with Stuttgart, and I'm looking forward to this challenge, especially to supporting VfB in the second half of the season to achieve promotion."
Where the move leaves Green in new U.S. manager Bruce Arena's eyes remains to be seen. Green had been coming on strong for the U.S. this fall, scoring in consecutive October friendlies against Cuba and New Zealand, and he was on Jurgen Klinsmann's roster for the November World Cup qualifiers against Mexico and Costa Rica, though he did not play. Green was not one of the players with whom Arena met during a recent trip to Germany, as the U.S. coach stated he met with Bobby Wood, Fabian Johnson, Christian Pulisic, Timmy Chandler and John Brooks.