Das American: Christian Pulisic’s Spectacular Rise


is it the young player for Dortmund yeah I paid him on FIFA quite like this good for decades Elite Soccer Talent has been forged in traditional locales the barrios of Argentina the favelas of Brazil the working-class streets of South London this though is the story of a young phenom who comes from an even more exotic spot Hershey Pennsylvania the sweetest place on earth [Applause] Christine pelisek a bloke has become the latest in a long line of much-hyped American next big things and Christian has already made it here in Dortmund Germany I came to Germany to meet him hear his story find out the barriers that exist before he can fulfill his potential and if he can do that make the long-held dreams of thousands of American soccer fans come true the DVB logo is on nine out of ten vehicles that Joe passed three out of ten people are wearing their jersey in the street I’ve never been in the city they say we look good no it’s incredible on it when I first got here I noticed that right away you see that you see the logo pretty much everywhere and the support is just it’s incredible from everybody in the whole city a year ago when you were walking on these streets were you able to kind of just casually stroll through fairly anonymously yeah of course I mean nobody really knows who you are when you’re just playing in a new 17 or u19 academy so it’s pretty easy for me at that point [Music] the story of this American soccer prodigy began an ocean away from Germany in chocolate town USA Hershey Pennsylvania [Music] my earliest song memory must be just in my house with my dad rowing minie balls at me he always just wanted me to be around the game and I absolutely loved it he was doing things that most kids don’t do being able to catch and kick and throw at a higher level than most little kids is it true that he could play with both feet from the age of three yeah whatever you can do with a strong foot was which was his right he wanted to make sure that he could do with his left foot he would take pride in it he always wanted to play in Europe I mean I remember him sitting in his basement and on the couch and watching games and saying I want to be there one day every year boy you want to be for Halloween a soccer player [Applause] soccer might very well be coded in Christine’s DNA his mum was a top defender for George Mason University where Christians father Mark also starred before he proceeded to set the turf fields of professional indoor soccer alight during a Hall of Fame club career your father and mother were both standout soccer player which of them remind you most of yourself I can’t say one of the others oh I’ll definitely be mad about that but I think I picked up a lot from both of them I gave him a little bit and my husband gave him a little bit so I really hope that it was from us but I think the talent that he had he used wisely you’re a tiny kid growing up you’re in the 25th percentile for height but you kept playing with kids two years your senior how do you don’t just get squashed on the field my dad would always tell me you know you don’t change the way you play by playing in spirit players you go and you keep that same confidence and if you show it you can do it anybody can play it doesn’t matter how tall tall or strong you are anything like that but here the other parents Oh who brought their little brother because he was so tiny and I kind of just laughed to myself until they said oh who is that little guy oh he’s just scored on us and I would kind of just giggle and you know and laugh as he just did his thing he did get squashed at times but he’s pretty agile and would bounce up he’s a tough kid what age did you turn to your wife and you looked at each other and said we have created a son who is a football player it was actually incredibly special I was always afraid to even tell my wife that but there were times we would look at each other and just smile and be like wow you know there is something there age 14 Chris you received his first call-up to the US youth national team and quickly impressed all such other honors right football is it’s not fearlessly attacking all comers from around the world started winning tournaments and had some success scoring goals I said wow I I can take this game somewhere in late 2013 politican is under-17 teammates faced mighty Brazil in the final of the prestigious naik international showcase and before a salivating crowd of scouts Cristian was at VP as a swashbuckling US side one for one policy had arrived as a serious prospect when you aware that that game might just have changed my life at the time now I wouldn’t say at all I think it was just another game for me I wanted to show everyone how good I was I wanted to prove to them that you know Americans can do it too and I can be successful at this type of level several of Europe’s top clubs battled to offer Christian his first professional contract though barely a teenager politic now had to choose a team a new home and the footballing future far away from his entire family there was some tough times to be honest you know life was gonna change we’d have to be in different countries I had my doubts I think like anybody we’re gonna leave my friends my family all of this behind this great life that I’ve had for the past 15 years in the u.s. I still to this day the most difficult decision I made in my life I mean it was much more than soccer it was a lot of nights of talking and we were all you know emotionally into this Christian ultimately chose Borussia Dortmund a German club renowned for scouting elite young prospects from around the world and developing them into stars I think after hearing about the Academy and just looking at the offer they gave me and told me about the coaching staffs and players it was just an offer I couldn’t refuse at all Christian set off for Germany chaperoned by his dad who took a job with Dortmund as youth coach it was hardly an easy transition work permit issues prevented pelisek from playing games and the culture shock was immense he would come home that first year here to me and we would talk through it and there were tears times of Tears yeah it’s a kid when I first started here I wasn’t able to play right away just training with the team every day didn’t speak the language I’m going to a German school and then I couldn’t playing games on the weekend it was just training I had to sit and watch that was the most difficult time for me the first day called me after school he said mom I sat in a class I don’t know if it was a math class or a science class that was really tough knowing that I was being at home with my daughter and not with you know my son and my husband I was bad I mean you know my baby boy was in Germany still since I’ve been here two and a half years now something like that and I miss her the first few months in Germany were rough a Christian found his footing and then his scoring touch he excelled for Dortmund youth teams and quickly thrived within the crucible of the clubs fiercely competitive training sessions expectations some food soup Rebelo because it was 15 when he came here and nobody expected at that moment that he could be one rising star one day it’s a battle every day and training because you’re fighting for your position your spot on the team that at all times I want to show what what I can do and be respected in the team and be a part of the team by January of 2016 Christian has shown enough to be promoted to Dortmund first team though still too young who obtained a German driver’s license he was now considered old enough the playing time at one of Europe’s most revered clubs is 17 years of age is certainly on the field with Obama young Marco Reus players who moves to us get to encounter only few EA fifa we are in for whelmed you are a bit starstruck you’re thinking about some part of this team now I think the best advice I ever got was from a coach here don’t go in there as a fan you go in there as as your own player and your own man and you want to prove to them that you can play too and they’ll respect you when you do that 17 years 133 days old you became the 8th youngest player ever to appear in the Bundesliga I often wonder what’s going on in that very second before you make it there beautiful since this huge wave of emotions just nervousness and excitement and just everything kind of flashes through you and you want to remember the moment and once you get on that field then it’s gone and you’re just playing soccer like any other day soon Christian was starting for Dortmund and when Hamburg visited in April he made an instant mistakable impression by the US your step not fazed at all by the occasion neat war from humble Zahir is politics the crowd goes wild 1-0 you celebrated with adapt Christian I was so excited I had I didn’t know what to do I was watching alone on this day I was screaming at the top of my lungs I mean I just was crying and shaking just seeing him celebrate with all these special players that Dortmund has and them embracing him like he has been here and is one of them to me is just such a feeling with pride [Applause] within a week Christian would find the back of the net again becoming the youngest player in Bundesliga history to score twice in a season and he endeared himself to the locals by quite literally speaking their language Clara listen every server has been about come to mind first an Arabic only Stegner on the spiel and yeah trainer had info just cuz I just want says kinesin on yeah fish bass disasters to Christian success in Dortmund did not go unnoticed back home hungry for a world-class prospect to call their own American fans jumped on the political a progressive dollar Mars for the rest of the way represents another opportunity for Christian pull a sixth hula cick the seventeen-year-old American player is the greatest potential player in American history amidst it all US coach Jurgen Klinsmann a man who in his own playing days once lit up the Bundesliga call police akin to the American squad to face Guatemala she’s only 17 May comes the youngest u.s. player ever to play you’re playing for the country that you grew up in your whole family’s from your friends and you just love that country so much being able to represent them in a game in a way is just such a special feeling there’s so much going on in my head in my stomach and it’s crazy I I can’t describe to you how I feel because it’s I just can’t believe it I just cry every time just so proud he’s out there and he was chosen out of all these players who’s chosen I just bury it’s your fault cuz you know emotions just get good to you when you sit down at the lunch table like men in their mid 30s what’d you talk about yeah I always say it’s funny when they’re over there talking about their kids and their families you know but there’s such great guys that they accepted me right away Christian soon added another milestone becoming the youngest American ever to school for the national team in a 4-1 win over Bolivia a goal we’d sent the politico up to 11 Danny for Jones [Applause] I couldn’t imagine it being as far as it is right now for sure I’m just really excited I’m thankful for all the blessings just everything that’s happened it’s part of you worrying that it’s all happened too fast yes of course I mean yeah he’s a young boy his friends now are 25 years old 28 years old with kids you know he’s just got back from his prom and I just hope everybody’s patient-level you know I mean he’s gonna have good games gonna have bad games he’s gonna have games where he’s just out there and that’s all right and that’s okay cuz that’s the player to do everyone says yeah he’s this big American hope but I don’t look at it like that I’m just like any other guy here I’m just trying to make it for myself I’m not doing it for my country back home or really anybody I want to do this because it’s my dream you

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