Christian Pulisic age 18 US national team player, Borussia Dortmund club team (German Bundesliga)
I have been a soccer fan since I can remember. I started playing organized soccer at the age of five and my dream was to play at any professional level at some point in my life. With that dream came the envy of watching the United States soccer teams and the talented and lucky individuals who got to put on the colors for their country. These games for me were what I always dreamed of playing in.
I have come to terms that I am not going to be a soccer star, believe me I understand that ship has sailed. Soccer is still a huge passion for me though. I have run podcasts in the past talking about the United States team and their performances through qualifiers up to the world cup.
For those of you who are unfamiliar United States Soccer it is on the rise, even more so in the past decade. Although numbers only seem to substantially spike at the start of each world cup every four years, there is still a steady number added to television ratings after the world cup ends. Soccer is more accessible in the United States now then ever before. We currently televise more English Premier League games then England does itself. The Seattle Sounders a team from the professional soccer league here in America (MLS) would be a top tier team in the Premier league if you were to look at their attendance numbers. Needless to say the sport continues to grow.
The thing that is growing the most over the past few years is the youth system. The thing that is essential to supplying talent to our professional leagues and national team. In the past the only time you would see a lot of players from the United States be successful is if they chose to live in Europe to try and make a career over there. The problem with that is, with a lack of experience and lack of competition in the United States often times players would be overmatched, and sit on the bench behind players who are more accustomed to the talent level. The growth of the youth academy is exciting and it is providing us with the next generation of players who will be integral to the United States Soccer program for years to come. Players like Jordan Morris, Bobby Wood, and Julian Green are all names that will be a part of US soccer players vocabulary for the next decade. The thing that has been missing for a long time is that player that is the face of the sport. For years it was Landon Donovan, but even Landon was not considered one of the best players in the world.
The Face of US Soccer
Many people will remember growing up and hearing the name Freddy Adu. Adu was expected to be the next thing in sports. His talent was undeniable and he was suppose to be the fuel that stoked the fire of soccer in the United States. Adu signed at the age of 14, and played professionally in the United States for a few years. His dazzling skills at the young age saw money running to buy cleats, and shinguards and try to emulate the youngster. Fast forward thirteen years and Freddy Adu is out of soccer.
Freddy Adu be introduced by commissioner Don Garber at the age of 14
US soccer has been afraid to proclaim another face of the sport sense, as they felt partially responsible for putting so much pressure on such a young kid. Enter Christian Pulisic. Many of us who followed the sport had heard rumblings that there was a kid with American Citizenship climbing the ranks of one of Germany’s top club teams Borussia Dortmund. This has been something we have heard before, that there is an overseas talent that has potential. This one was different however. Borussia Dortmund is known for their youth system and their development of young players. When reports were coming out of the club that Pulisic is one of the best youth players they have ever produced, heads started to turn.
Pulisic was called into United States national team duty for the first time on March 29th, 2016 where he came on as a substitute against Guatemala. It was a short cameo and just a taste of the youngsters ability. It was in May when he became the youngest goalscorer in US national team history when people started to notice his ability in the States. Fast forward to now, Pulisic has been a mainstay in the national team’s first team. Not only that he has been the best player on the field in his last three games.
Heaping all of this praise on an eighteen year old may seem pointless as there is so much career left in front of them that it could go too many different ways to count. The stars are definitely aligning for US soccer at the right time though. Adding this focal point into a cast of several other talented youngsters, the talent pool for the United States has more potential than it has ever had.
Is Christian Pulisic going to be the face of United States soccer. I am going to be bold and say yes he is. Watching this kid there is something different about him. He has the poise and composure to be able to play on a field in front of 80,000 people in Germany and fighting off people a decade older than him gunning for his job on a regular basis. He has not ran from any challenge that has come his way, and his talent is undeniable.
He is currently being pursued by several different clubs in Europe, hoping to buy him from Dortmund to try and bring his talent to their team. Pulisic has been insistent that Germany is the place for him and that he won’t be moving. For what Dortmund has done for him thus far I hope he does stay. For the sake of the United States national team I hope he keeps the path he has been going down thus far. If he stays on this path there are bright times ahead for United States Soccer.