Whenever a young American player is hyped-up to do big things in Europe and become the savior of American soccer, one name often gets thrown around as a reminder of past failings: Freddy Adu.
If you look up the word “bust” in a theoretical soccer dictionary, you’ll see a picture of Freddy Adu complimenting the definition. Adu signed a professional contract for DC United at age 14 and was appointed as the future of American and international soccer. Some thought, that by the time Adu was done, he’d be considered one of the greatest players the sport had ever seen.
They really couldn’t have been more wrong. Adu never succeeded in Europe, let alone in MLS, and today he is a 27-year-old playing for the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL.
Adu is a big reason why non-Americans have a tough time believing the hype that comes out about certain promising young Yanks. Julian Green is one example from Germany of an American who has yet to fulfill his potential.
But Christian Pulisic is already on a level that has never been reached by an American player before. He’s the most promising European-style player that has been produced by the US to date. American players often come to Europe known for their physical attributes. Maybe they’re incredibly pacy like DeAndre Yedlin, or maybe they’re physical beasts like Jozy Altidore. But what sets Pulisic apart is his technique and the results he’s already produced.
He just has that feeling of being a natural footballer. He was groomed on the youth soccer fields of Pennsylvania, but he resembles a player who could easily be the prized product of an acclaimed academy in Europe. He’s a player who, other than his dab celebrations, doesn’t seem too American...and that’s a good thing.
Look at his first touch on this recent goal scored for the USMNT, have you ever seen an American player bring a ball down like that?
This is why he’s able to contribute so much at such a young age to an elite club like Dortmund. He fits right into one of Europe’s premier teams in terms of playing technically beautiful attacking football.
He’s already been directly involved in 5 goals in just 6 league appearances for BVB this season, doing so with 2 goals and 3 assists. His latest contribution, against Ingolstadt, was an important cap to a substitute appearance that saw him come into that game and change it.
American or not, how many teenagers are assisting goals against Real Madrid in the Champions League?
There were doubts over just how much playing time he would get this year, but those doubts are gone now. Dortmund’s wingers have suffered from injuries and inconsistency, but Christian is standing up. It wouldn’t shock me if he finished this campaign with 10 goals in the Bundesliga.
Europe and America are noticing what he is doing. There will always be an added bonus in marketability for a successful American player like Pulisic. But it’s a bit of a double-edged sword as it also makes him more desirable to other clubs.
Dortmund would be wise not to let him go, and there will only be more suitors in the future. Our old friend Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool seem to have an interest in Pulisic, and if you believe the tabloids, Barcelona do too. Surely he’ll pique the interest of more big clubs down the road. Hopefully the draw of the English Premier League will not be too much for our young hero to resist.
He’s not just hype, he’s results. Soccer is as unpredictable a game as they come, but if Pulisic keeps developing at this rate he could very well be the best American player of all time.
And if that doesn’t happen, feel free to come back to this article and tell me how dumb I was.