FIFA clear Malik Tillman to represent USMNT

Lizzy Becherano
Malik Tillman chooses to represent the USMNT over Germany.
Malik Tillman chooses to represent the USMNT over Germany. / John Dorton/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Dual-nationality player Malik Tillman will officially represent the US men’s national team after FIFA approved his one-time switch from Germany to the American side. 

Tillman could quickly make his debut with the USMNT, with FIFA confirming his clearance as he joins the American side for the June window. 

"It took me a lot of time to make the decision," Tillman told reporters on Tuesday. "But in the end I listened to what my heart told me and yeah, I hope it's the right decision. I'm happy to be here and I like it.

"I would say I have a chance to play in the World Cup this year. So Germany, I would think I wouldn't be with the team for the next two years. If it's great, if I have a great career, the next two years, maybe I couldn't have had a chance with the German national team. I don't really see the chance with them. I see it here."

USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter echoed the player’s statement. 

"We're really excited that [Tillman] got cleared by FIFA to play," U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter said during a media availability Tuesday. "He's shown a lot of quality in training, very good understanding of the game, very good first touch and, and awareness around the penalty box, so that's been great to see."

The midfielder stands as the latest dual-nationality player to join Berhalter’s side, following Yunus Musah, Ricardo Pepi and Sergino Dest. Tillman’s choice to represent the United States marks a victory for the team, after Berhalter revealed the federation had been chasing the Bayern Munich figure. 

"It was just about painting the vision of our program and where we potentially see him fitting in, but I think also where the program is heading," Berhalter said last month. 

"Although the guys didn't speak to him directly, I think they speak for themselves in terms of what they're doing on the field and the clubs they are at and the age they are and I know a lot of players are excited to be part of this group.

"And this was certainly the case with Malik. We had some good conversations a couple of weeks ago in Munich, and I was happy to see him commit to us and looking forward to working with him in camp."

Now, Tillman must get to work. 

The player kicked off his career with Greuther Furth before joining Bayern Munich’s youth program in 2015. He made his debut with the reserve side in 2020, and worked himself up to make the first team last August, where he scored a goal against Bremer SV in the German Cup.  

He has since made seven first team appearances this season, mostly coming from league play and one Champions League feature against Barcelona. The 20-year-old is just getting started.