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Bayern Munich's Malik Tillman cleared to represent USMNT after FIFA approves switch from Germany

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Bayern Munich midfielder Malik Tillman has been officially cleared to represent the United States men's national team after FIFA approved his one-time switch from Germany, U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday.

Tillman. 20, could now make his debut for the USMNT when it takes on Morocco in a friendly in Cincinnati on Wednesday.

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"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."

Tillman marks the latest successful recruitment of a dual national by Berhalter. His other successes include Barcelona defender Sergino Dest, Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah, and Augsburg FC forward Ricardo Pepi.

"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 earlier this month of the process to recruit Tillman that began close to a year ago.

"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."

Along with his brother Timothy, Malik Tillman started his career at Greuther Furth before joining Bayern's youth setup back in 2015. He then rose through the ranks, making his professional debut with Bayern's reserve side in June of 2020.

Tillman, who made his first team debut last August in a German Cup match against Bremer SV and scored a goal in a 12-0 win, said the decision to switch to the U.S. took some soul searching.

"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."

He has made a total of seven first team appearances this season. Four of those have come in league play as well an appearance in a UEFA Champions League match against Barcelona last December. He also has four goals and four assists in 15 outings with the reserves, which plays in the fourth tier Regionalliga Bayern.

As well as Morocco, the USMNT will also be taking on Uruguay on June 5, followed by CONCACAF Nations League games against Grenada and El Salvador days later.