Christian Pulisic

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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 22)[2]
Place of birth Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[3]
Playing position(s) Winger, Attacking midfielder
Club information
Current team
Chelsea
Number 10
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 28 (9)
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 18:38, October 24, 2020 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 01:55, October 16, 2019 (UTC)

Christian Mate Pulisic (/ˈmɑːt pəˈlɪsɪk/;[7] Croatian: Pulišić,[8] pronounced [krǐstijan mǎːte pǔliʃitɕ];[9][10][11] 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.[12][13][14]

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, at age 17.[15] 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.[16] In 2018, he finished second in the inaugural Kopa Trophy, given to the best player under age 21. In January 2019, Pulisic moved to Chelsea in a transfer worth $73 million (£57.6 million), making him the most expensive North American player of all time, and began playing for the club in the 2019–20 season.[17]

Pulisic has scored 14 goals in 34 games as a U.S. international player. He has appeared and scored at every youth level and made his senior team debut in March 2016 at age 17. He is the youngest player ever to captain the U.S. national team in the modern era.[18] He helped the U.S. to the final of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and has won a U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year award and two U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year awards.

Early life[edit]

Pulisic was born in Hershey, Pennsylvania,[19] where he spent the majority of his childhood. 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.[20]

Pulisic lived in England for a year at the age of seven, playing for the youth team of Brackley Town.[21] When his father was general manager of indoor club Detroit Ignition in the mid-2000s, Pulisic lived in Michigan and played for Michigan Rush. While in Michigan, he attended Workman Elementary School.[22] 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, during his teen years.

Club career[edit]

Borussia Dortmund[edit]

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,[23] Pulisic was called to join the first team over winter break.[24]

2015–16: Breakthrough season[edit]

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.[25] 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.[26] 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.[27] On February 18, Pulisic made his UEFA Europa League debut as a second-half substitute in a 2–0 victory against FC Porto.[28]

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."[29]

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 17 years and 212 days old.[30] 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.[31]

2016–19: DFB-Pokal win and departure[edit]

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

In the 2016 International Champions Cup friendly pre-season tournament, Pulisic scored in stoppage time against Manchester City to send the clubs into penalties.[32] 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.[33] The following weekend he scored his first goal of the season and provided two assists in a 6–0 victory against Darmstadt 98,[34] 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.[35] 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.[36] On January 23, 2017, Pulisic signed a new deal with Dortmund which would keep him at the club until 2020.[37][38] 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 Dortmund's youngest ever scorer in the competition at the age of 18 years, 5 months, and 18 days.[39] Pulisic also assisted one of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goals in the win, advancing Dortmund to the quarter-finals.[40] On August 5, 2017, Pulisic scored the first goal in the DFL-Supercup against Bayern Munich.[41]

Chelsea[edit]

Pulisic (pictured with Jamie Vardy) during a Premier League game against Leicester City in August 2019

On January 2, 2019, Pulisic signed with Premier League club Chelsea for an estimated £58 million transfer fee. The deal also saw him stay at Dortmund on loan for the remainder of the 2018–19 season.[42] This transfer made Pulisic the most expensive American player and Borussia Dortmund's second most expensive sale of all time, behind Ousmane Dembélé.[43] 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 soccer idol.[44]

2019–20: Debut season, injury and Premier League breakthrough[edit]

On August 11, 2019, Pulisic made his Premier League debut for Chelsea in a 4–0 defeat against Manchester United.[45] 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 for Fulham in 2012, as well as the youngest hat-trick scorer in Chelsea's history at the age of 21 years and 38 days.[46][47] He also became the first Chelsea player to score a perfect hat trick since Didier Drogba in 2010.[48] Pulisic scored in his next two league outings, a 2–1 away victory against Watford[49] and a 2–0 home win over Crystal Palace.[50]

On October 23, 2019 during Champions League 2019-20 matched against AFC Ajax, Pulisic played as a substitute where he assisted Michy Batshuayi late goal 0–1 win. The Belgium striker thumped home fellow substitute Christian Pulisic's low cross with just four minutes remaining at Johan Cruijff Arena to earn the Blues back to back away wins in the competition.[51] He scored his first Champions League goal for Chelsea in a 2–2 draw away to Valencia on November 27, 2019.[52]

When the Premier League fixtures resumed after the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pulisic had recovered from injury and came off the bench to score the equalizer in Chelsea's 2–1 win against Aston Villa on June 21, 2020.[53] In the following match, Pulisic scored the first goal in Chelsea's 2–1 victory over Manchester City, a result that eliminated the second-placed City from title contention and confirmed Liverpool as Premier League champions.[54]

On August 1, he scored the opening goal in the 2020 FA Cup Final against Arsenal after five minutes, becoming the first American player to score in the final of the competition, but was substituted early in the second half after sustaining a hamstring injury. Arsenal eventually came from behind to win the match 2–1.[55]

In August 2020, Pulisic was named to the eight-player shortlist for the inaugural Premier League Young Player of the Season award,[56] which was eventually awarded to Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold.[57]

Pulisic ended the season with 11 goals and 10 assists in all competitions.[58]

2020–21: Comeback from injury[edit]

Ahead of his second season at Chelsea, Pulisic was given the number 10 shirt after Willian, who wore the number the previous season, departed in the offseason.[59] He returned to training on September 9 following the hamstring injury he suffered in the FA Cup Final in August,[60] although Lampard kept him off the squad for the season opener against Brighton after experiencing some discomfort later in the week.[61]

Pulisic made his season debut on October 3, coming off the bench late in a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace.[62] He made his first Premier League start of the season on October 17, a 3–3 draw against Southampton.[63]

On October 28, Pulisic came off the bench to score a 90th-minute goal in a 4–0 Champions League away win against Krasnodar.[64]

International career[edit]

Pulisic had represented the United States at the U-15 and U-17 levels. He captained the U-17 team at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where he scored a goal and an assist in three games.[65] During his two years with the team, Pulisic scored a total of 20 goals in 34 games. Pulisic had been eligible to play internationally for Croatia but declined the opportunity.[66][67]

On March 27, 2016, Pulisic was called up to the senior team by head coach Jürgen Klinsmann ahead of a World Cup qualifying game against Guatemala.[68] 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 thus became the youngest American to play in a World Cup qualifier.[69]

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

Pulisic was included in the senior squad for the Copa América Centenario, which was hosted by the United States.[70] 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 side Bolivia.[71]

On September 2, 2016, Pulisic recorded two goals and an assist in a World Cup qualifying match in a 6–0 victory over Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,[72] thereby becoming the youngest person to score in a World Cup qualifier for the U.S. and the youngest player to score a brace in American history.[73] In the following match against Trinidad and Tobago, he broke another youth record by becoming the youngest American to start a World Cup qualifying match.[74] In the following year of qualification, on June 8, Pulisic scored both goals in a 2–0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago. In the last two matches of qualification, Pulisic scored a goal in each: a 4–0 victory over Panama and a 1–2 defeat to Trinidad and Tobago. He finished the fifth round as the top scorer with five goals. Despite his strong performances, the United States failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The loss to Trinidad and Tobago is considered the most shambolic performance in American soccer history.[75]

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.[76]

Style of play[edit]

Following his promotion to the Dortmund first team, FourFourTwo writer Andy Mitten wrote that the Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel "saw the potential – the speed, sharpness, strength, sublime fitness and mature decision-making that belied his age."[77] Tuchel called Pulisic "the kind of guy who’s very self-confident, shows his talent on the pitch, and doesn't show any nerves under pressure – which is a wonderful combination."[77] Pulisic's Dortmund teammate Nuri Şahin said, "He's fearless [...] He has so much speed, but what I like most is his first touch. When he gets the ball, his first touch opens up a huge space for him even if there's no space."[77] Since the 2018–19 season, Pulisic was most often deployed on the wing for Dortmund, and this has continued at Chelsea. Because of his style of play, Pulisic is often subjected to fouls by opponents.[78]

In July 2020, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard compared him positively to former Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, saying Pulisic "has a more direct attacking instinct. He has the talent to pass through defenders and run inside the box which is a great trait in the modern game." Lampard added, "There's still more development to come. Christian is taking responsibility to change games."[79]

Personal life[edit]

Pulisic's paternal grandfather, Mate Pulišić, was born in Croatia on the island of Olib.[80] Pulisic obtained Croatian citizenship after moving to Germany in order to avoid applying for a German work visa, which is required to work in the country without a European Union passport.[67] Pulisic has a cousin, Will Pulisic, who represented the United States at the under-17 level as a goalkeeper and also played for Borussia Dortmund.[81]

The last name Pulisic is derived from the Croatian city Pula and has confused some people of its proper pronunciation. Both the anglicized pronunciation (/pəˈlɪsɪk/) and the original Croatian pronunciation (/ˈpʊlɪʃɪ/) have been used by commentators, and Pulisic confirmed that either form is acceptable.[82]

Outside of soccer, Pulisic is a fan of the New York Jets, New York Rangers, and Philadelphia 76ers.[83]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of match played October 28, 2020[84][85]
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 25 9 2 1 2 0 4[d] 1 1[g] 0 34 11
2020–21 Premier League 3 0 0 0 0 0 2[d] 1 5 1
Total 28 9 2 1 2 0 6 2 1 0 39 12
Career total 118 22 10 4 2 0 34 4 2 1 166 31
  1. ^ Includes DFB-Pokal, FA Cup
  2. ^ Includes EFL Cup
  3. ^ Appearance(s) in UEFA Europa League
  4. ^ a b c d Appearance(s) in UEFA Champions League
  5. ^ Five appearances in UEFA Champions League, three appearances in UEFA Europa League
  6. ^ Appearance in DFL-Supercup
  7. ^ Appearance in UEFA Super Cup

International[edit]

As of match played October 15, 2019[85]
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
As of match played October 15, 2019. United States score listed first, score column indicates score after each Pulisic goal.[86]
List of international goals scored by Christian Pulisic
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 May 28, 2016 Children's Mercy Park, Kansas City, United States 3  Bolivia 4–0 4–0 Friendly
2 September 2, 2016 Arnos Vale Stadium, Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 7  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 12  Honduras 4–0 6–0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification
5 June 3, 2017 Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, United States 14  Venezuela 1–1 1–1 Friendly
6 June 8, 2017 Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, United States 15  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 19  Panama 1–0 4–0
9 October 10, 2017 Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, Trinidad and Tobago 20  Trinidad and Tobago 1–2 1–2
10 March 26, 2019 BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, United States 25  Chile 1–0 1–1 Friendly
11 June 22, 2019 FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, United States 27  Trinidad and Tobago 4–0 6–0 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup
12 July 3, 2019 Nissan Stadium, Nashville, United States 30  Jamaica 2–0 3–1 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup
13 3–1
14 October 11, 2019 Audi Field, Washington, D.C., United States 33  Cuba 7–0 7–0 2019–20 CONCACAF Nations League A

Honors[edit]

Borussia Dortmund

Chelsea

United States U17

United States

Individual

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