Atlanta United midfielder Julian Gressel takes selfies with fans, he was name best player of the match after scoring a goal and one assistance against LAFC April 7, 2018, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Photo: Miguel Martinez/MundoHispanico
Photo: Miguel Martinez/MundoHispanico

Gressel would ‘love’ to sign long-term deal with Atlanta United

Julian Gressel on Thursday said that he would love to sign a long-term contract with Atlanta United, but right now he’s focused on Saturday’s game at Columbus and the remainder of the season.

“There’s enough time to bring it back up when the time is right,” Gressel said. “For now, that’s all I want to say about it. We are in a pretty tough spot as a team in the standings, and I want to focus on my performance, which always comes first and always has to be there for everything else to fall into place. We will keep working hard and see how that goes in the future.”

Atlanta United has an option to extend Gressel’s contract through the 2020 season. He had a guaranteed salary of $111,250 in 2018, according to the MLS Players Association salary database. The two sides were negotiating earlier in the season, but stopped. 

“It was a situation where we felt we didn’t see as much progress as we would have liked,” he said. “That’s why we put it on the shelf for now.”

Atlanta United declined to comment.

Gressel has scored nine goals and added 25 assists the past two seasons in league play. He was named the Rookie of the Year for the 2017 season after Atlanta United selected him with the eighth pick in the draft.

Gressel, a 25-year-old native of Germany, covered a range of topics Thursday, including whether he would be interested in possibly playing for the U.S. men’s national team. He married a U.S. citizen in December and has applied for a Green Card.

“It doesn’t really matter if it’s any interest to me because there’s simply no way for me to play for the U.S. men’s national team,” he said. “I’m not an American citizen. There’s a chance for me to become one, but that’s still years down the road. I don’t have my Green Card. That doesn’t even qualify me for citizenship. There’s a lot of hoops to jump through before that’s a possibility, therefore I don’t have an opinion.”

However, Gressel would move quickly if he were invited to play for the German national team.

“If there were a call right now, there would no hesitation to say yes,” he said.

As for returning to play club soccer in Germany, Gressel said it would have to be the right fit. He said it’s a dream to play in Germany. He still closely follows the Bundesliga and that the dream will probably stay with him until it’s fulfilled or he dies.

But he said it’s also a dream to continue playing in the U.S.

“It’s just a matter of what comes up and where my career is headed,” he said.

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