For years, U.S. soccer has been searching without luck for its first world talent. At one point, it was Freddy Adu, who at 14 was already labeled the savior of United States soccer, and we all know how that turned out. Clint Dempsey has held the torch for the past few years, playing both the midfield and striker role to great effect, but still a step or two below a world class talent.
But now, in the year 2016, it seems the United States has finally found their talesman, their Captain America… and no, it isn’t Donald Trump (his hands would be too small to be a keeper anyway). Christian Pulisic is the name, and he is taking the American public by storm.
Here are nine reasons why he could be the best American soccer player ever:
At 18 years old, the Borussia Dortmund winger looks like the real deal, and is giving U.S. fans something to get excited about. Having watched his performance against Real Madrid in the Champions League, his play truly reminds me of all the hype around England’s Marcus Rashford. Pulisic plays without fear, an amazing feat for a boy who hasn’t even finished puberty yet facing up against the likes of Sergio Ramos, Cristiano Ronald and Gareth Bale. He also looks to be refreshingly inventive, something that has been long lacking in the U.S national team, which usually plays with the rigidity of a middle school boy at his first formal.
Pulisic joins an impressive list of young American stars playing in the German Bundisliga (Bobby Wood, John Brooks, Timmy Chandler, Julian Green, Aron Johannsson, Fabian Johnson, Alfredo Morales), making the argument that maybe U.S. soccer fans should be paying more attention to the German league than the Premier League. With Jurgen Klinsmann’s influence, Germany is quickly becoming a great proving ground for American talent.
Undoubtedly, there will be people in the media throwing out descriptions of Pulisic as the “American Messi,” and other such ridiculous notions that will inevitably put impossible pressure on the young man’s shoulders.
He has proven that he has the potential to be great, maybe even better then great, but Americans have to be patient with him, and realize that having developed in the Dortmund system, it may take time for him to really assimilate in playing with the national team.
However, there is no doubt that Klinsmann has stumbled on a real talent in Pulisic, and someone that the U.S. team can build around going into the World Cup in 2018.