Chelsea Star Christian Pulisic Leads American Soccer into New Era
By WVUA 23 Contributor Harrison Holland
A native of Hershey, Pennsylvania, Christian Pulisic originally made himself known as the promising American soccer prodigy. That status, along with advanced skills, landed the then-16-year old a contract with German power Borussia Dortmund.
Five years later he is the face of American soccer, leading the way for a promising crop of American talent playing in Europe and starring in a role reserved for the few at Chelsea Football Club in London, wearing No. 10.
At a top-flight club like Chelsea, the No. 10 shirt represents class both on and off the pitch. Pulisic earned the honor with last year’s performance, as he scored 11 goals to go along with 10 assists in just over 30 appearances. But Chelsea expected that, as they signed him for a fee of $73 million and made him the most expensive American player ever.
What he represents to American soccer is arguably more significant than his contributions to Chelsea. He is our brightest star in decades, and maybe ever, but also the first and oldest of many talented, young Americans who are part of what could be the golden generation in the U.S.
It is no longer a shock to see an American teenager sign with a European club. Pulisic was the first of the growing trend in America. The sport’s popularity continues to rise domestically, a testament to his influence on youth players and the culture as a whole.
“He’s setting the bar for U.S. soccer at a whole different level,” family friend Doug Harris told Business Insider.
Other highly touted Americans have joined him in the move to Europe, but he was the first and they recognize that. They follow him.
“This is trending the same way Tiger Woods was trending,” Harris said, comparing the impact both have on their respective sports.
Expectations constantly rise for the Pennsylvanian. Chelsea legend and current manager Frank Lampard knows he can handle it, personally giving him number 10 this summer.
“He works hard every day and he has to set his sights as high as he possibly can,” Lampard told ProSoccerTalk.
There is little doubt Pulisic will reach higher levels in England, maybe even winning individual honors. But he has plans for U.S. Men’s National Team success. With the emergence of other young U.S. players, they should escape the 2018 failure of World Cup qualification with ease.
Captain America will have the eyes of a nation on him in the 2022 World Cup, but the Hershey-native is well-adjusted to pressure at this point. After all, this used to only be a dream for kids in America.