Julian Gressel admits 'surprise' at USMNT call-up
Julian Gressel has admitted his call-up to the United States Men's National Team came as a 'surprise'.
The German-born winger became a US citizen on November 5, 2022 - the same day he joined the Vancouver Whitecaps - following a five-year spell in the country with Atlanta United and D.C. United.
Gressel has long been linked with a potential call-up for the USMNT once his citizenship was secured and the 29-year-old will now finally get his chance to impress at the annual January training camp alongside other MLS and select players.
But despite Gressel being touted for a call-up for so long, it still came as a shock to him when it finally happened.
"I wasn’t sure what it was, what it was going to be and then it was a great surprise to find out that I was on the preliminary roster, and then [interim head coach] Anthony Hudson called me and asked me if I wanted to come in," Gressel told reporters of finding out the news.
"It was a great, great conversation we had initially and it was an exciting time now and exciting couple of weeks. I’m very, very happy and excited for this opportunity to represent the U.S."
Of course, given the timing, the USMNT's biggest stars like Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, and Sergino Dest won't be present at the camp.
However, Gressel still sees it as a great opportunity to show the staff what he's capable of and prove that he is now 100 per cent American and ready to represent his adopted nation.
"I think it definitely is [still a great opportunity]," he said. "You’re still coming in, you’re representing the United States of America, you’re playing for your country. No matter what happens in the future, I think you can show that you want to be a part of the group moving forward, whatever that will look like.
"It’s a big opportunity for a lot of young guys and some more...veteran guys."