Julian Gressel says he wishes to represent the U.S. men’s national team , but doing this depends greatly on how contract talks with Atlanta United proceed this summer.
The 25-year-old midfielder is entering the last year of his rookie contract and deal talks have stalled with Atlanta United.
The German-born midfielder could bring that flexibility to the USMNT pool, having obtained his green card in May after marrying an American girl.
Gressel could apply to become a naturalized citizen in May 2022, only a month or two ahead of the World Cup at Qatar that winter.
“It has certainly crossed my mind,” he advised The Athletic. “It would be awesome, it would be really cool to be a part of (the 2022 World Cup), but clearly that is where it kind of comes back along with the contract situation. You are kind of just weighing out that and type of seeing how it goes because if I stay here clearly that becomes a more realistic chance for me personally, I believe.
“I never really expected it to go this way, to sort of embrace the American culture the way that I feel as I have. I am really excited to be seeing even more of what this gorgeous country is made of. There is a certain pride that comes with it, where I have lived here for so long and I have been a part of the community in this country for such a long time, where it’d only be a huge honor (to play for the national team).
“I feel like that is my house and I think that feeling that I’ve — I’m just very passionate about it.
Gressel earned $133,000 in guaranteed settlement in 2019 and is on the lookout for a considerable increase after establishing himself as one of Atlanta’s key players.
If the two sides can’t come to an arrangement, Gressel will be free to join a new club in January 2021 while signing a pre-contract in July 2020 is also a possibility.
Leaving American football would make the path to citizenship a little more challenging and that process might not be completed in time for Qatar in 2022.
Gressel claims he”enjoys” Atlanta and that remaining is a priority, but only if the team does right by him in the kind of a new thing.
“It is frustrating and it is disappointing,” he said. “That’s most likely the major word: disappointed. I’ve been, I wish to say, a very great ambassador for the club at the area and the league in general… and now to be just kind of pushed off and I don’t understand, disrespected, actually, is clearly not making me feel good. The longer this goes, the more angrier, the more disappointed I believe I’ll get.”
He added: “If I get hurt in the first week and I have not signed a deal, who knows if I will find a new one. This is obviously my future, and what I think about is that these are life-changing quantities. We are not talking about $5 million $7 million. We are talking about $130,000 or anything we come up with a brand new thing. Those are life-changing quantities in a sense for me and my loved ones, and that’s clearly the number one priority for me.”