I remember when Freddy Adu was the second coming of Pele.
We’re about the same age, Freddy and I (depending on who you ask).
He arrived on the American soccer scene like a comet. He would awaken the dormant passion of a nation and ignite American soccer from within.
Except that didn’t happen.
Instead, Freddy bounced around the world, from league to league, country to country, leading a life you could write a book on but not the fairytale that greedy corporations had penned for their little golden goose.
To say Freddy’s career is over wouldn’t be fair to him.
He’s only 26 – a lot of 26-year-olds I know can barely feed themselves and do laundry. But the million dollar shoe deals from Nike have turned into, well…something else.
I’m not writing Freddy off, but it’s safe to say that he’s not going to be the paradigm-shifting player Nike was trumpeting way back when.
As the memory of wunderkind Freddy Adu fades, the new savior of American soccer is getting ready to assume his throne.
The New King
Enter Christian Pulisic.
Though made his debut for the senior men’s national team during the second leg of the World Cup qualifier against Guatemala, his ascension to relevancy started at the beginning of 2015, 5,000 miles East and far away from the prying eyes of anyone not named Jürgen K.
Pulisic signed his first professional contract with Borussia Dortmund, the second best club in Germany under the watchful gaze of Jürgen Klopp (currently managing Liverpool) in January of 2015.
He lasted only 15 games with Dortmund’s youth sides before Klopp & Co. realized they had a special player on their hands.
While other kids his age were trying to figure out how to be a hot commodity at the Sadie Hawkins dance, Pulisic was thinking about how to score Manuel Neuer and get playing time on a side that features Marco Reus.
In the year and change since he signed with Borussia Dortmund, Pulisic has established himself as one of the game’s top young talents and earned himself a spot at the Grown-Ups’ table – he’s now regularly featured with Dortmund’s first team.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Jürgen Klopp’s body was just a container for a soul – the soul of all Jürgens – and Jürgen Klinsmann can imbibe the sights and sounds of his Kloppleganger, a la paintings in Harry Potter.
Sorry, getting a little esoteric.
What I’m trying to say is that Jürgen Klinsmann has spies everywhere, especially Germany, and he’s definitely down with Jürgen Klopp because they’re name-blooded, so the fact he’s been keeping tabs on young Pulisic shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Whatever the means of transit, the name Christian Pulisic got into Jürgen Klinsmann’s ear and he George Bush’d the button on him at the first opportunity, capping him against Guatemala in a game that had serious World Cup implications.
JK: “Our goal was to get Christian Pulisic some minutes and even in his limited minutes you could see the talent he has.”
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) March 30, 2016
A vote of confidence from Klinsmann is worth a lot these days. Just ask Landon Donovan.
Pulisic is young, insanely talented, and plays in Germany. If Klinsmann had to manufacture a player to build his team around (and he couldn’t be German), it would be Christian Pulisic.
He’s got it all, and the Copa America is his chance to show the world that he’s the player Freddy Adu was meant to be.