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Meet the press: Christian Pulisic hits New York
by Paul Kennedy, August 29th, 2017 9:27PM
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TAGS:  borussia dortmund, christian pulisic, men's national team, ousmane dembele, world cup 2018


American men's soccer has never had this before. An international superstar. At 18. Raised in a foreign soccer environment. Three days before USA-Costa Rica at Red Bull Arena, the New York media got their first chance to hear from Christian Pulisic.

Starting just his second full season on the U.S. national team and Borussia Dortmund, Pulisic is humble and he is well spoken. He doesn't come across as if he's 18, but he is cautious, learning from his teammates in Germany, where the media coverage is far greater and there is a tabloid element to the coverage totally lacking in the United States.

Pulisic knows what he says will be heard not only across the small world of American soccer but in European soccer, where he plays on a club in transition and a sport in transition as transfer fees are going through the roof.

His strong start to the new season at Borussia Dortmund comes as it has hired a new coach, Dutchman Peter Bosz, to replace Thomas Tuchel, who brought Pulisic into the first team, and sold young French star Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona for a transfer fee that could reach $175 million.

Both Dembele and Pulisic played their first full seasons at Dortmund last season and often started together alongside Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. If Dembele is worth $175 million, how much is Pulisic worth? That's a discussion for another day, but his value could conceivably hit $100 million.

Pulisic answered all the questions presented to him at the U.S. Soccer press conference held at NYCFCHouse, the MLS club's pop-up shop in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, on a host of topics ...

Dembele: 'I'm not going to be unhappy for him'

"He was a good friend of mine. It's always tough when you see a good player leave. It's not easy. It was a dream of his to play for Barcelona, and I am not going to be unhappy for him so I definitely happy and I'm excited to see what he can do in his future, but like I said, it's not always fun losing one of your best players."

New season with USA and BVB: 'It's just amazing to be out there'

"It's an amazing honor to be a regular part of this team, kind of being in that playmaker role I've always played most of my life. It's just amazing to be out there and just help the team any way I can. With Dortmund, of course, we've lost some players, but I am really excited to continue my career there and real excited to start the rest of the season. I am kind of growing into a role there as well. It has been really fun."

Playing role: 'I am going to go out and try to do same things'

"It's being effective and being dangerous and helping my team to create and score goals. I understand that. And I am excited for this new season. Whether there is more responsibilities or not, I am going to go out and try to do same things and be effective."

Hype: 'I put enough pressure on myself'

“Of course, I hear about all this stuff. People talk about this kid, and there’s hype, whatever. But I just try to keep it out of my mind as much as I can, because that doesn’t really matter to me. I put enough pressure on myself. I don't need all this outside attention."

Areas of improvement: 'Growing physically and being stronger'

"I just try to do the best I can for myself and the people around me. I think I have a lot of things to improve on, from just growing physically and being stronger to continue to improve on doing what I do best, going at defenders, finding new ways to attack defenses and help my team on the offensive side.”

One year later: 'Everything happened a little bit too fast'
"For me, everything happened a little bit too fast. The past year has been a roller coaster. Being able to play at a club level at a high level, and then getting called into the national team, it's amazing. But I'm just trying to stay as leveled-grounded as I can. I am honored that I am here to represent club and country."

  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: August 30, 2017 at 1:28 a.m.
    Level-grounded? Is that a transmogrification of a german phrase? Please keep an eye out for these CONCACAF hacks--the referees won't protect you. Tuchel didn't start you against the bottom of the table last year because you're not fully grown yet, but the USMNT can't afford that luxury. Look what happened to Gedion Z--he got kicked from behind, that's a 9 month rehab and MAYBE that knee comes back.
  1. Wooden Ships
    commented on: August 30, 2017 at 9:50 a.m.
    A couple things with CP and its teammate dependent. To keep from absorbing ugly and numerous tackles, players need to show early and make decisive runs, to continue play for CP to have an outlet. And, our senior players need to view him as they would their little brother. Stay away from the Red obviously and try to avoid the Yellow, but quickly respond to his defense. Not sure Costa Rica is going to be a major concern, but Honduras there will be. Could also play him wide vs Honduras. For CP though, as a player, you still play with abandon.
  1. Miguel Dedo
    commented on: August 30, 2017 at 8:34 a.m.
    For me, worse than the US not qualifying would be for Pulisic to suffer a serious injury.
  1. Eric Dibella
    commented on: August 30, 2017 at 12:06 p.m.
    Playing wide against Honduras did not shield Lleget from injury.
  1. Wooden Ships
    commented on: August 30, 2017 at 4:27 p.m.
    Touché. Forgot about that.
  1. Daniel Clifton
    commented on: August 31, 2017 at 9:12 a.m.
    My biggest concern about Pulisic in CONCACAF qualifying is that eventually he is going to be fouled unmercifully. I hope that doesn't happen, but Honduras would be a likely place for that to happen.

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