Being one of the most high-profile American footballers ever has brought on massive expectations for Christian Pulisic, but the U.S. Men’s National Team star is shouldering the weight with great confidence and grace,
Pulisic and Chelsea are currently in the midst of a tremendous turnaround in 2021 after struggling at times over the first half of the season.
The USMNT attacker has fought his way into Thomas Tuchel’s starting XI and is now in prime position to help his squad reach the UEFA Champions League final with a result against Real Madrid next week.
Americans have gotten their hopes up about teen prodigies in the past, and the amount of pressure put on Pulisic has been unlike anything U.S. futbol has seen since the early days of Freddy Adu’s career.
Pulisic comes from a football background, with both his parents have played at a high level. That includes his father, Mark, who played competitive indoor futbol with the Harrisburg Heat back in the 1990s.
While living in England for a year at the age of 7, Pulisic had the opportunity to train with Brackley Town’s academy, a club involved in the country’s sixth-tier of football. When Pulisic came back to the U.S. the following year he became further immersed in the game.
Growing up in Pennsylvania, The 22-year-old had the chance to play for top U.S. Development Academy club PA Classics for the better part of seven years.
That’s when Borussia Dortmund came calling in early 2015. After first earning a shot with the German giants at the Under-17 level, Pulisic quickly outgrew the squad after shining with the team during their season.
When Chelsea brought in Pulisic there were enormous expectations for the American to fill the void left by Eden Hazard. In a lot of ways they are similar, minus Pulisic’s height advantage in comparison to the Belgium international.
Pulisic’s style is reliant on his quick pace, ability to dart into open space and past defenders on a regular basis. He’s not flashy with skills, but also doesn’t need to be because of his tremendous ball control and knack for picking out teammates going forward.
In Chelsea’s Champions League quarter final against Porto, Pulisic suffered the most fouls in almost a decade because of the Portuguese side’s awareness of how dangerous the USMNT winger can be. Again, very similar to Hazard at his best during his Chelsea days.
When Pulisic is able to stay on the pitch he’s an absolute nightmare for opponents, and there’s no doubt that his ceiling is similar to that of Hazard during his Chelsea days.
The one reason for skepticism has been the injuries Pulisic has suffered early in his career, including a number of muscular ones. His recent form has silenced the doubters though, especially after rumors began swirling about a potential exit from Stamford Bridge when Pulisic wasn’t included in Tuchel’s side for some time.
He’s won his job back and doesn’t appear willing to give it up. That’s the sign of a competitor and one that has massive ambitions for himself and his country. It starts with the Champions League and FA Cup, where Chelsea are in prime position to pull off a double.
Pulisic has a huge summer ahead, followed by a 2022 that could see the USMNT back at the World Cup after missing the previous edition in Russia.