17-year-old midfielder Christian Pulisic has made quite a splash to begin 2016.
In January, the Hersey, Pennsylvania native made his Bundesliga debut for Borussia Dortmund. In February, he made his first start for the German powerhouse, followed by his record-setting USA debut in March when he became the youngest player at 17 years 193 days to appear in a World Cup Qualifier for the U.S. MNT.
With two weeks to spare in April, Pulisic achieved another milestone when he scored his first professional goal and played his first full match in Dortmund’s 3-0 victory against Hamburger SV on April 17.
“It’s a real memorable moment for Christian Pulisic,” U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann told ussoccer.com. “When you score your first goal for your professional team, it really means a lot. You’ll always remember that moment and it’s special.”
Pulisic did well to get unmarked as he entered the Hamburg box and received a quick pass to the goalkeeper’s right. Showing poise, he took one touch with his left foot and blasted a low right-footed shot from 12 yards out inside the near post to spur Dortmund to a crucial three points as they chase Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title. In doing so, he became the youngest non-German born player to score in Bundesliga history at 17 years, 6 months and 30 days old.
A product of U.S. Soccer Development Academy club PA Classics, Pulisic has appeared in seven Bundesliga matches and three Europa League matches for Dortmund to date, including starts in each of Die Schwarzgelben’s past two matches.
“He’s very young, breaking into the squad of the first team at Borussia Dortmund and playing with the Under-19 there as well,” Klinsmann - a former Bundesliga player and manager - stated. “Getting that experience now and getting the feeling that he can compete with the older guys, it gives him a big boost confidence-wise. The fact that he’s in Dortmund in a very intense environment is very helpful because they put him in line right away.”
Pulisic, a product of U.S. Soccer Development Academy Club PA Classics, has long represented the United States in youth competition, including the 2015 U-17 World Cup in Chile last summer where he captained the side. This year, he made a quick jump to the senior team and became the youngest U.S. player to appear in a World Cup qualifier when he debuted against Guatemala on March 29 in Columbus.
“With the statements he sends out there – scoring his first goal for Dortmund, starting a game in the Bundesliga, getting valuable minutes in that very intense environment – he sends messages out toward what happens with the National Team as well,” Klinsmann added. “We are just weeks away from Copa America Centenario, the biggest competition in the United States since the 1994 World Cup.”
With the Copa America Centenario roster due in May and the tournament set to begin June 3, Pulisic has a real chance to continue his monthly accolades through the first half of 2016.
“He makes himself a case, similar to other players who are trying to get on the right track now, trying to perform with their club teams and he knocks at the door breaking into the 23-man roster for the Copa America,” Klinsmann said.