Gregg Berhalter believes in Christian Pulisic

Like for Christian Pulisic, England -- London, specifically -- was the second stop for Gregg Berhalter in his international career.

But the comparisons end there.

Berhalter played at three small Dutch clubs before he moved without much fanfare to Crystal Palace of the second-tier Football League First Division in 2001.

Pulisic moved this summer from Borussia Dortmund, the second most powerful club in Germany, to Chelsea, one of the richest clubs in the world, for a transfer fee of $73 million.

“I haven’t faced anything close to what he’s facing,” Berhalter said at the USA's training camp on Monday. “He’s at Chelsea, one of the biggest clubs in the world, and there’s a different level of pressure on him."

That pressure has come with intense media scrutiny on Pulisic -- and his manager, Frank Lampard -- as he rode the Chelsea bench, not playing a minute of Premier League action in September.

Berhalter said it's natural that there's an adjustment period.

"In terms of adapting from the style of play from one country to another," he said, "what I’d say is you just have to get used to it. You have to take in information. You have to start understanding what makes the style of play effective in that country, and try to integrate as fast as possible."

Patience is necessary, though easier said than done.

“It is something you just need to get used to, and it takes time,” Berhalter said. “I think all of us, we want to rush things sometimes, myself included, but this is a case where he’s quality and his time will come.”

Berhalter expressed confidence in Pulisic's role on the national team and at Chelsea.

“We want Christian playing a big part of what we do," he said. "He’s a player that we believe in, and we’re patient. We know things take time, and we know sometimes adapting to different leagues takes time as well. So we’re patient with his process. If he has a good process in place, which we believe he does, we think his quality will come through.”

Photo: Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire

13 comments about "Gregg Berhalter believes in Christian Pulisic".
  1. Kent James, October 9, 2019 at 10:17 a.m.

    Words of wisdom from GB.  Not to put pressure on him, but Pulisic is clearly the best player in the USMNT pool.  GB's statement of belief may be to reassure Puliisic that his spot on the USMNT is not in any danger, to at least releive that pressure on him.  I know some people think that if a player is not getting regular playing time at their club, then they should not get playing time on the national team.  I've never understood that.  Certainly, if their play has fallen off, and they're not good enough to play, then they shouldn't.  But I can easily imagine players (like Pulisic) who aren't getting time not because they suck but because of other factors (the number of super talented players on their club, politics, etc.), and players in such situations are rested and have something to prove.  Letting them play at the national team level (assuming their play in training justifies it) can show the club team what a mistake they've made by not playing them.  

  2. frank schoon replied, October 9, 2019 at 12:03 p.m.

    Kent, words of wisdom? GB really stuck his neck out for this worthwhile statement<sarc> What else could he say? "You're not starting because of a lack of playing time on the club team", or 'we'll see how you fare with us on the NT in practice before I will make up my mind" Come on, this is a no-brainer.
    As far as not understanding the correlation with playing time on your club vis a vis NT, that is a standard held by all countries, ofcourse , everything has it exceptions like Pulisic for the difference between him and the rest of his teammates in ability, not necessarily mentally, is pretty big; and ,as I'm sure,  he knows that to and doesn't worry about that part for I can only imagine the tsunami of criticism GB would face......

  3. beautiful game, October 9, 2019 at 10:44 a.m.

    GB should be thinking more about every player's abilities other than CP's. Getting the right player mix is the goal and small talk is a waste of time. The 'olde guard' needs to be replaced NOW, as well as Zardes, Trapp, and a few others.

  4. Wooden Ships replied, October 9, 2019 at 10:50 a.m.

    Roger that bg.

  5. frank schoon replied, October 9, 2019 at 11:47 a.m.

    BG, what wisdom, Alright!!

  6. Nick Gabris, October 9, 2019 at 11:13 a.m.

    Agree with above comments! If GB believes in CP so much, then he needs to be more assertive to Lampard regarding CP playing time. In GB's interview with Lampard, GB seemed sheepish in standing up for CP, probably because he was intimidated by Lampard. A player at the level CP is playing at, needs playing time to stay sharp, he cannot be expected to perform at the highest level by inserting him into a game with a few minutes on the clock, thats just enough time to warm up.

  7. beautiful game replied, October 9, 2019 at 4:02 p.m.

    CP will be OK unless his goal oriented focus is dented. And the notion that BG should have been more assertive to Lampard is full of baloney.
    If Lampard believes in other young players rather than in CP, that's his and only his choice to play them. GB has nothing to whine about, he should take better care of his NT program. GB has a lot of issues with the NT and his focus needs to be arriving at a solution. Yes, CP needs playing time to prove himself, but all that starts in the training sessions at Chelsea. He has a lot of competition and that should make him a better player. CP made his choice signing with Cheslsea, he could have gone to other Euro-leagues and gained more playing time. At 17-yoa U.S. born Giuseppe Rossi signed with Man-U in 2004 on a team that was stacked with talent. He was assigned to the second team and the following year he was loaned out to Newcastle...three seasons later he went to and starred at Villarreal and Fiorentina. His passion and focused never wavered.

  8. Donald Lee replied, October 9, 2019 at 8:13 p.m.

    You actually witnessed a discussion between Lampard and Berhalter?  Really?  

  9. Ginger Peeler, October 9, 2019 at 1:21 p.m.



    GB’s words of wisdom are fitting for young boys and girls playing in competitive academies as they advance through the years working with different coaches, etc. 

    Pulisic is light years ahead of that!  This young man has been carrying the massive weight of USMNT fans’ hopes for at least a quarter final finish in the World Cup on his shoulders for several years now. Very few people can perform successfully in sports and/or in businesses with the kind of pressure Pulisic lives with every day. Keep that in mind. And he just turned 21!

    Keep in mind, too, that, first, Pulisic is an American trying to earn playing time on a European juggernaut. While there are many of us who hope for the very best for him, there are also some who hope to see him fail. Apparently, it makes them feel better when they can itemize less than stellar play. Truthfully? As an American, he must play better than most of his teammates in order to be recognized...being as good as the best of teammates will not be good enough to earn regular playing time. 

    We (USMNT supporters) ruined Freddy Adu with our expectations and he was too young to handle the “discipline” that the adults around him felt was necessary in his play, rather than honing his skills in play and soccer savvy. And I believe Hugo Pérez just recently commented that he thought highly talented U17s and up should be playing men’s teams to become better players. Not sure I agree, but it might have helped Adu. 

    Pulisic knows what he has to do better than GB or any of us.  He’s living it daily while so many of us are swooping around with advice when we can’t even begin to understand the pressure he lives with every single day. Frankly, I believe he’s more mature than GB. Time to back off!! 


  10. Bob Ashpole replied, October 9, 2019 at 3:13 p.m.

    Well said Ginger. While I don't think anyone at SA or posting here would wish for any athlete to fail professionally, undoubtedly there are some out there who feel happier about themselves when they see others fail.

  11. Hat Trick, October 9, 2019 at 3:10 p.m.

    I am sure Lampard couldn't give a big hoot about what GB or anyone in the states has to say about the ability of CP and why we think he should be playing in place of ??????.  Under any circumstances it's none of our business.  CP is a young man capable of handling  this challenge and the more Soccer America keeps talking about him and why he should be playing I sincerely believe they are doing CP more harm than good.  GB should be directingt  his energy in more important issues like getting some players who can play together.  I am with Ginger, CP is carrying a load and will handle it but lets not put more on him by constantly pushing him as the saviour of European Soccer.  CP is a good player no doubt but where he is there are many, many players as good as and better than him.  He has to be seen and show and I believe he will do it.  If he doesn't he can come back home with a bag of money and play MSL.  Which would be a real shame but things happen.  Life is sometimes cruel.

  12. Donald Lee, October 9, 2019 at 8:16 p.m.

    I don't believe for a second there is any significant number of people anywhere who want to see CP fail. Of course there are some, but less than .1%.

  13. R2 Dad, October 10, 2019 at 12:35 p.m.

    Of course GB believes in CP--that's a no-brainer. The problem is that he also believes in Will Trapp who is not an international-quality player, and yet WT keeps getting camps and caps.

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