Why German talent is choosing the U.S.  

October, 10, 2011

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- We've noted before, as recently as our previous post, that the influx of young talent from Germany is bringing big changes to the U.S. national team. This week's model, Danny Williams, the 22-year-old Hoffenheim midfielder, became the first player to earn his first U.S. cap under Jurgen Klinsmann. However, there are several youngsters either already making an impact on the Yanks or about to, like 21-year-old starter Timmy Chandler of Nurnberg, and Williams' injured club teammate Fabian Johnson. Johnson could make his U.S. debut as early as next month after having his one-time national team switch from Germany approved by FIFA.

On Bundesliga reserve and youth squads, there are almost too many German-American prospects to count, beginning with Hertha Berlin center back John Anthony Brooks, Bayern Munich midfielder Fabian Hurzeler and Borussia Dortmund striker Terence Boyd.

"If you look down to the under-23, under-20 ranks, what we have in Europe, it is mind-blowing," Klinsmann says. "We want to make sure that we don't have a kid slipping through, like Giuseppe Rossi that decides to play somewhere else. We want to have that next player play for us."

Many of the players with Rossi-like choices are in Mexico and Germany. And for the past year, the German players, first under Bob Bradley and now under Klinsmann, have started to choose the U.S.

Why is this reverse Marshall Plan, where Germany is sending aid and comfort to U.S. Soccer, happening now?

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.