It’s been a hectic 18 months for Christian Pulisic. His popularity, and importance to Dortmund and the US Men’s National Team, have skyrocketed since his senior club debut in January of 2016.
The 18-year-old deserves a break, and it seems like Bruce Arena is going to give him one. The head coach of the USMNT told Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl that it is “unlikely” that Pulisic is selected for this summer’s Gold Cup.
“I doubt it,” Arena said when asked specifically if he would call in Pulisic, who is on the 40-man Gold Cup preliminary roster, from which the 23-man final roster (and up to six replacements for the knockout rounds) can be selected.
“It’s bad timing for [the Gold Cup], because the guys in Europe have gone through this long club season and now the World Cup qualifiers. They need a break. They have three weeks off, and asking them to come in for Gold Cup makes no sense. It would take three weeks to get them ready.”
This decisions means that Pulisic should be available for Dortmund’s preseason, which is scheduled to begin in early July. And it also means he’ll actually get to enjoy the benefits of having an off-season this year!
The CONCACAF Gold Cup is held almost every year, and isn’t exactly the most prestigious tournament. With World Cup Qualifiers still ongoing it makes sense that the USMNT would be fine taking a second-choice squad to this year’s edition of the tournament. And at the moment, Christian is the United States’ best player.
Dortmund will be pleased that Pulisic can rest instead of playing in an insignificant international tournament. The club have already asked Germany not to select Felix Passlack and Dzenis Burnic for this summer’s U19 European Championships, presumably so they can rest ahead of the new season.