Club: Borussia Dortmund
Position: Attacking Midfielder
The word prodigy, in some circles of American fandom, is clouded by memories of past failures. Visions of Freddy Adu, John O’Brien, and Jamar Beasley induce cold sweats and panic attacks. Yes, the road to American footballing glory is littered with has-beens, flops, and busts. Save for a select few breakthroughs, fans of the US Men’s National Team have been treated to a sea of California Messi’s collapsing under the weight of expectation.
Enter Christian Pulisic.
At the ripe age of 17, the Pennsylvania-born son of an Indoor Soccer star has been a revelation. No one presumed young Christian would find his footing in Germany so soon. Sure, he might appear in a few cup matches, and feature in practice, but what teenager could be expected to consistently contribute on one of the best teams in the world? As luck would have it, this lanky midfielder was up to the job.
Christian signed with Borussia Dortmund last January, at the age of 16. He spent little time getting settled, and set off immediately, dominating the youth circuit. By Christmas, he found himself called into the first-team. In February 2016, Pulisic made his first Bundesliga start, and in April, following a strong, yet scoreless performance against Schalke, he found the back of the net against Hamburg. The goal made him the fourth-youngest player to ever score in the German first division. The next week, he made league history yet again, becoming the youngest player ever to score twice.
If the pressure of carrying the mantle as America’s next best hope is weighing on Pulisic, he hasn’t shown it. He made his first international appearance for the senior team in March against Guatemala, where he became the youngest American to feature in a World Cup qualifier (sensing a trend?).
While Pulisic won’t likely see significant playing time, it’s a strong bet that he’ll receive a call from Jurgen Klinsmann come summer. If he sees time, trust he’ll make the best of it.
How to cite this article: “The Young Guns” Written by Shaker Samman (2016), Copa America Centenario 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/tournament-guides/copa-america-centenario-2016-guide/the-young-guns/ (accessed on (date)).