For winning the Major League Soccer Cup, Atlanta United FC’s players will eventually get championship rings.
But on Sunday, one of the club’s most important players put on a different ring.
Julian Gressel got married Sunday to Casey Brown in Boca Raton, Fla.
They had been dating since college and got engaged a year ago in Munich, Germany.
The day has come.. 👰🏼🤵🏼#goinggressel
— Julian Gressel (@JulianGressel) December 30, 2018
The wedding looked like a lot of fun.
And fellow German and Atlanta United teammate Kevin Kratz showed up too.
Gressel’s teammates, Atlanta United staff and fans offered their congratulations on Twitter.
The biggest of congratulations to the two of you!
— Kelly Frances ⭐️ (@thekellyfrances) December 30, 2018
— Providence Friars (@PCAthletics) December 30, 2018
— #1 Brek⭐Shea Fan (@jay_riddle) December 30, 2018
All the best 🍾
— Tony Annan (@TonyAnnan1) December 30, 2018
Gressel just completed his sophomore season in MLS. He was the club’s second draft pick, taken eighth overall in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. He became a key player right away for Gerardo “Tata” Martino’s Five Stripes, appearing in 32 games as a rookie, tallying five goals and nine assists, and taking home the MLS Rookie of the Year award.
He followed up that campaign by starting 33 games this season and notching four goals and 14 assists. Gressel featured mostly on the right wing, but also played in the central midfield and on the back line. He tied for the team-lead in assists with Miguel Almiron.
Gressel, who just turned 25, was born in and grew up in Neustadt an der Aisch, Germany. He came to the U.S. to play college soccer at Providence, where he had a decorated career as a four-year starter for the Friars. The versatile German capped his college career as second all-time in Providence history for goals, assists and points, and was named Big East co-Offensive Player of the Year in 2016.
But as a German citizen, he still occupies an international roster spot for Atlanta United. That could change in three years, though. By marrying his longtime American girlfriend, Gressel could become a U.S. citizen by way of naturalization in three years, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
This would make him eligible for the U.S. men’s national team, just in time for the 2022 World Cup.
Would Gressel ever consider playing for the U.S.?
“If there were ever a time that I could play for the German national team, I would love to take that chance. I wouldn’t hesitate to say yes. And I hope that day comes,” Gressel told the Athletic in September. “But if one day I’m eligible and Germany isn’t interested at all, then I think I’d be happy to play for the U.S. It’s been my second home.”
If the German team passes on him, and if the man they call “Gresselmania” keeps tearing up MLS, there’s a chance the Atlanta United fan-favorite could be wearing Stars and Stripes in 2022.