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Christian Pulisic

Christian Mate Pulisic (/ˈmɑːt pəˈlɪsɪk/;[7] Croatian pronunciation: [krǐstijan mǎːte pǔliʃitɕ];[8][9][10] born September 18, 1998) is an American professional soccer player who plays as a winger or an attacking midfielder for Premier League club Chelsea and the United States national team.[11][12][13]

Christian Pulisic
USMNT vs. Trinidad and Tobago (48125059622) (cropped).jpg
Pulisic with the United States in 2019
Personal information
Full name Christian Mate Pulisic[1]
Date of birth (1998-09-18) September 18, 1998 (age 21)[2]
Place of birth Hershey, Pennsylvania, U.S.[3]
Height 5 ft 7 in (170 cm)[3]
Playing position Winger / Attacking midfielder
Club information
Current team
Chelsea
Number 22
Youth career
2005–2006 Brackley Town[4]
2006–2007 Michigan Rush[5]
2008–2015 PA Classics[6]
2015–2016 Borussia Dortmund
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2016–2019 Borussia Dortmund 81 (10)
2019– Chelsea 9 (5)
2019Borussia Dortmund (loan) 9 (3)
National team
2012–2013 United States U15 10 (2)
2013–2015 United States U17 34 (20)
2016– United States 34 (14)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14:58, November 9, 2019 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 01:55, October 16, 2019 (UTC)

Born in Hershey, Pennsylvania, Pulisic began his professional career at German club Borussia Dortmund, where, after fast progression through the team's youth academy, in which he featured in only 15 youth games, he was promoted to the senior team in 2016.[14] He featured sparingly in his first season at the club, but his involvement increased dramatically in the following campaign, where he was a mainstay in the Dortmund team that won the 2016–17 DFB-Pokal.[15] In January 2019, Pulisic moved to Chelsea in a transfer worth $73 million, making him the most expensive American player of all time, and began playing for the club in the 2019–20 season.

A U.S. international, Pulisic has scored 14 goals in 33 games for his country. He has appeared and scored at every youth level, and made his senior debut in March 2016. Later that year, Pulisic featured at the Copa América Centenario. Pulisic has also featured as team captain—their youngest ever.

Early lifeEdit

Pulisic was born in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where he spent the majority of his life. His parents, Kelley and Mark Pulisic, both played collegiate soccer at George Mason University and his father also played professional indoor soccer for the Harrisburg Heat in the 1990s and later became a coach at both youth and professional levels.[16]

Pulisic lived in England for a year, playing for the youth team of Brackley Town.[4] When his father was general manager of indoor club Detroit Ignition in the mid-2000s, Pulisic lived in Michigan and played for Michigan Rush. After the family returned to the Hershey area, Pulisic grew up playing for local U.S. Soccer Development Academy club PA Classics and occasionally training with local professional club Harrisburg City Islanders, now known as Penn FC.

Club careerEdit

Borussia DortmundEdit

In February 2015, Borussia Dortmund signed 16-year-old Pulisic and assigned him first to their U17 squad and in Summer 2015 to the U19. After scoring 10 and assisting 8 in just 15 games with the Dortmund youth teams,[17] Pulisic was called to join the first team over winter break.[18]

2015–16: Breakthrough seasonEdit

In January 2016, while with the first team in the winter break, Pulisic played the second half of two friendly matches, scoring one goal and assisting another.[19] On January 24, a day after making his debut on the first team bench, Pulisic played 90 minutes in a friendly against Union Berlin, scoring a goal and assisting another.[20] He made his Bundesliga debut in a 2–0 win against FC Ingolstadt on January 30, 2016, coming on as a second-half substitute for Adrián Ramos.[21] On February 18, Pulisic made his UEFA Europa League debut as a second-half substitute in a 2–0 victory against FC Porto.[22]

Pulisic made his first Bundesliga start on February 21, against Bayer Leverkusen before eventually being substituted for Marco Reus. He made his second Bundesliga start on April 10, against FC Schalke 04 in the Revierderby, playing 73 minutes before being replaced by İlkay Gündoğan. In response to Pulisic's performance against Schalke, team manager Thomas Tuchel said, "He's a teenager in his first year of professional football. His first two games in the starting eleven were in Leverkusen and here today in Schalke – not the easiest of tasks. It shows our huge appreciation that we see him as a full time player on our team. He was a valuable substitute against Werder Bremen and Liverpool. He has looked really good recently which has been proved today. It is completely normal that he could not have played with this pace and this intensity for over 90 minutes."[23]

Pulisic scored his first Bundesliga goal for Borussia Dortmund on April 17, opening the scoring in a 3–0 home win against Hamburger SV. It made him the youngest non-German and fourth-youngest player to score a goal in the Bundesliga, at just 17 years and 212 days old.[24] With his goal against VfB Stuttgart on April 23, Pulisic broke another Bundesliga scoring record by becoming the youngest player to score two goals in the top-flight league. The game also marked his first yellow card in the Bundesliga, as a result of a challenge on Emiliano Insúa.[25]

 
Pulisic during a training session with Borussia Dortmund in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland

2016–19: DFB-Pokal win and departureEdit

In the 2016 International Champions Cup friendly pre-season tournament, Pulisic scored in stoppage time against Manchester City to send the clubs into penalties.[26] During his first competitive appearance in his second year with the club, Pulisic became Dortmund's youngest player ever to play in the UEFA Champions League.[27] The following weekend he scored his first goal of the season and provided two assists in a 6–0 victory against Darmstadt 98,[28] one day before his 18th birthday.

In a September Champions League group stage game against Real Madrid, with Dortmund trailing 2–1, Pulisic came on as a second-half substitute and helped set up André Schürrle's late goal, allowing Dortmund to earn a 2–2 draw.[29] In a substitute appearance on October 22, Pulisic assisted one goal and scored the equalizer against FC Ingolstadt, who were last place at the beginning of the day, to salvage a draw, coming back from 3–1 down.[30]

On January 23, 2017, Pulisic signed a new deal with Dortmund which would keep him at the club until 2020.[31][32] On March 8, 2017, Pulisic scored his first UEFA Champions League goal in a 4–0 victory over Benfica in the round of 16, making him BVB's youngest ever scorer in the competition at the age of 18 years, 5 months, and 18 days.[33] Pulisic also assisted one of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goals in the win, advancing Dortmund to the quarter-finals.[34] On August 5, 2017, Pulisic scored the first goal in the DFL-Supercup against Bayern Munich.[35]

 
Pulisic during a Premier League game against Leicester City in August 2019

ChelseaEdit

On January 2, 2019, Pulisic signed with Premier League club Chelsea for a fee of €64 million ($73 million; £58 million), in a deal that saw him stay at Dortmund on loan for the remainder of the 2018–19 season.[36] This transfer made Pulisic the most expensive American player and Borussia Dortmund's second-most-expensive sale of all time, behind Ousmane Dembélé.[37] Upon his arrival in the summer, he spoke of his desire to replicate the form shown by Eden Hazard, and described the forward as a footballing idol.[38]

Reports stated that Pulisic planned to cut his summer holidays to participate in the pre-season and impress the new Chelsea manager.[39] On August 11, 2019, Pulisic made his Premier League debut for Chelsea in a 4–0 defeat against Manchester United.[40] Pulisic scored his first goals for Chelsea on October 26, 2019, completing a "perfect" hat-trick in a 4–2 away win against Burnley. The hat-trick was the first of his career, and he became the second American to achieve the feat in the Premier League after Clint Dempsey in 2012, as well as the youngest hat-trick scorer in Chelsea's history at the age of 21.[41][42] Pulisic scored in his next two league outings, a 2–1 away victory against Watford[43] and a 2–0 home win over Crystal Palace.[44]

International careerEdit

Pulisic has represented the United States at the U-15 and U-17 levels. He captained the U.S. U-17 national team at the 2015 U17 World Cup in Chile, where he had a goal and an assist in three games.[45] Pulisic scored 20 goals in 34 games with the U17's during his two-years with the team.

On March 27, 2016, Pulisic was called up to the Senior team by coach Jürgen Klinsmann ahead of a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying game against Guatemala.[46] Two days later, he made his debut in that match, a 4–0 win at the Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, as an 81st-minute substitute for Graham Zusi. He became the youngest American to play a World Cup qualifier.[47] Before appearing in that match, Pulisic had been eligible to play internationally for Croatia, but declined to do so.[48][49]

 
Pulisic taking a free kick against Trinidad and Tobago during the CONCACAF Gold Cup in June 2019

Pulisic was included on May 21, 2016, in the squad for the United States' hosting of the Copa América Centenario.[50] A week later, he became the youngest player to score for the United States in the modern era, when he put home a late goal in a 4–0 friendly win against visiting Bolivia.[51]

On September 2, 2016, Pulisic recorded two goals and an assist in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification match in a 6–0 victory over Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,[52] becoming the youngest person to score in a World Cup Qualifier for the U.S. and the youngest player ever to score a brace in U.S. history.[53] In the following match against Trinidad and Tobago, he became the youngest American to start a World Cup Qualifier match.[54] On June 8, 2017, Pulisic scored both goals in a 2–0 World Cup qualification victory over Trinidad and Tobago. In the last two matches of 2018 World Cup Qualification, Pulisic scored a goal in each match in a 4–0 victory over Panama and a 1–2 defeat to Trinidad and Tobago to finish the fifth round as the top scorer with five goals. Despite this, the United States failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The loss to Trinidad and Tobago is widely considered the most shambolic performance in U.S. soccer history.[55]

On November 20, 2018, Pulisic became the youngest player to captain the United States national team in a friendly defeat to Italy. Pulisic was 20 years and 63 days old.[56]

Style of playEdit

Pulisic is a modern-day number 10. His low center of gravity allows him to dribble at high speeds.[57] Since the 2018–19 season, he has been deployed on the wing for Dortmund and, since signing for Chelsea. His adept weak-foot skills allow him to play on either side of the field. Because of his style of play, Pulisic is often subjected to fouls by opponents.[58][59][60]

ReceptionEdit

In 2017, George Dohrmann for Bleacher Report wrote, “After decades of thirsting for a player who could be considered truly world class. Americans now finally—finally!—have a player capable of making an indelible mark on the world's game.”[61] Pulisic achieved several Bundesliga and Dortmund records; he is the youngest non-German to score in the league, the youngest player to score two Bundesliga goals, and is the youngest player to appear and score for Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League.[62]

Personal lifeEdit

Pulisic's grandfather, Mate Pulišić, was born in Croatia on the island of Olib.[63] Pulisic applied for Croatian citizenship after moving to Germany (and the European Union) in order to avoid having to apply for a German work visa.[49] Pulisic's last name, which is derived from the name of a Croatian city Pula, sparked a debate in Europe about whether it should be pronounced the American way, /pəˈlɪsɪk/, or the Croatian way, /ˈpʊliʃɪ/.[64] In an interview with 24sata, Pulisic confirmed both ways are correct.[65]

Pulisic has a cousin, Will Pulisic, who also represented the United States at the under-17 level, as a goalkeeper, and who also played for Borussia Dortmund.[66]

Pulisic is a fan of the New York Jets, New York Rangers, and Philadelphia 76ers.[67]

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

As of match played November 9, 2019[68][69]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup[a] League Cup[b] Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Borussia Dortmund 2015–16 Bundesliga 9 2 0 0 3[c] 0 12 2
2016–17 Bundesliga 29 3 4 1 10[d] 1 43 5
2017–18 Bundesliga 32 4 1 0 8[e] 0 1[f] 1 42 5
2018–19 Bundesliga 20 4 3 2 7[d] 1 30 7
Total 90 13 8 3 28 2 1 1 127 19
Chelsea 2019–20 Premier League 9 5 0 0 2 0 2[d] 0 1[g] 0 14 5
Career total 99 18 8 3 2 0 30 2 2 1 141 24
  1. ^ Includes DFB-Pokal, FA Cup
  2. ^ Includes EFL Cup
  3. ^ Appearances in UEFA Europa League
  4. ^ a b c Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  5. ^ Five appearances in UEFA Champions League, three in UEFA Europa League
  6. ^ Appearance in DFL-Supercup
  7. ^ Appearance in UEFA Super Cup

InternationalEdit

As of match played October 15, 2019[69]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
United States 2016 11 3
2017 9 6
2018 3 0
2019 11 5
Total 34 14

International goalsEdit

As of match played October 15, 2019. Untied States score listed first, score column indicates score after each Pulisic goal.[70]
International goals by date, venue,, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 May 28, 2016 Children's Mercy Park, Kansas City, United States   Bolivia 4–0 4–0 Friendly
2 September 2, 2016 Arnos Vale Stadium, Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines   Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 4–0 6–0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
3 6–0
4 March 24, 2017 Avaya Stadium, San Jose, United States   Honduras 4–0 6–0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
5 June 3, 2017 Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, United States   Venezuela 1–1 1–1 Friendly
6 June 8, 2017 Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, United States   Trinidad and Tobago 1–0 2–0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
7 2–0
8 October 6, 2017 Orlando City Stadium, Orlando, United States   Panama 1–0 4–0
9 October 10, 2017 Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, Trinidad and Tobago   Trinidad and Tobago 1–2 1–2
10 March 26, 2019 BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, United States   Chile 1–0 1–1 Friendly
11 June 22, 2019 FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, United States   Trinidad and Tobago 4–0 6–0 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup
12 July 3, 2019 Nissan Stadium, Nashville, United States   Jamaica 2–0 3–1 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup
13 3–1
14 October 11, 2019 Audi Field, Washington, D.C., United States   Cuba 7–0 7–0 2019–20 CONCACAF Nations League A

HonorsEdit

Borussia Dortmund[69]

United States U17

United States [11]

Individual

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit