The 2022 World Cup in Qatar officially started this past Sunday and despite the various scandals and controversies surrounding this event, there are a number of promising young sports stars entering this grand stage. Among them is Christian Pulisic, the Pennsylvania native who has made a name for himself in the world of professional soccer as the star player for the U.S. team. Pulisic has been given the nickname “Captain America” for being regarded as one of the best U.S. soccer players of all time. With that comes the expectation for him to lead the United States men’s national soccer team’s (USMNT) “golden generation” of young players in this year’s World Cup.
Christian was born and raised in Hershey, Pennsylvania by his parents Mark and Kelley Pulisic, who both played college soccer for George Mason University in Virginia. Growing up, Christian had opportunities to learn different styles and creative techniques from the various soccer teams his father coached in his career. In Pennsylvania, Pulisic was able to play soccer for development clubs like PA Classics. At age 17, he made his debut against Guatemala for the USMNT and not long after in 2016, he became the youngest player to score their first international goal for the national team in a 4-0 victory over Bolivia. He also won the U.S. Soccer’s Young Male Player of the Year award that same year.
In 2019, Pulisic’s contract was picked up by Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund for $73 million, making him the most expensive U.S. soccer player in history. His accomplishments in the soccer world don’t stop there, many of these feats include; becoming a three-time winner of the U.S. Soccer’s Male Player of the Year award; winning the FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup with Chelsea in 2021; becoming the youngest player ever to captain the US soccer team at the age of 20; and many more. Pulisic’s peak performance over the years makes his addition to the USMNT vital. Many fans are hopeful of the United States’ chances for this year’s World Cup following the team’s notable absence from the world stage in Russia four years prior.
The U.S. played their first match of the tournament against the Wales national football team on November 21st. Unfortunately it ended in disappointment for the U.S. team due to a poorly timed late game penalty, which resulted in a 1-1 draw. Speaking to reporters about the game, Pulisic said: “It’s disappointing for sure after such a good start, a point in the first game, it’s better than none. We have to move on, learn from this. It’s our first World Cup game. Now it’s just time to focus on the next one.”