France National Soccer team roster
At first glance U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team midfielder Christian Pulisic is your average 16 year-old American.
He’s 5-foot-8 and 140 pounds, likes videos games and movies, and is going through the challenges of high school.
But, there are few other kids his age who have trained with youth programs at such world-renowned clubs as Barcelona, Chelsea, Porto, Villareal, or PSV Eindhoven. Or who have trained with Germany stars Mats Hummels and Marco Reus at Borussia Dortmund. Or who have had a six-second highlight clip of an elastic nutmeg reach nearly a half million views.
“I’m no different than any other average kid, ” Pulisic said sheepishly. “I’m often just laying on my bed watching Netflix. I love hanging out with my friends, but I also like being alone. I’m a family guy. I’ll do anything to spend time with my family. I love playing FIFA, of course. And I love playing NHL right now.”
But on the field, Pulisic is anything but average.
With a father who played professional indoor soccer in the United States, Christian developed a love for soccer at an early age. And through his dad’s connections, Christian was exposed to soccer in other countries starting in third grade – setting the table for where he is now.
As a youngster playing soccer for Michigan Rush and then at U.S. Soccer Development Academy side PA Classics near his hometown of Hershey, Pennsylvania, Christian would often go on week-long training stints with the youth programs of well known teams across Europe.
“I just loved the game so much and my dad would tell me about these opportunities, and I wanted to take everything that I could, ” he remembers. “I was really young at the time. It was just to get that great experience, so I’d go in and train with youth teams all over the world and see how they do it.”
While he watched soccer on TV, he didn’t play the sport thinking of a becoming a professional. For him, it was just for fun.
“I just loved to play, ” he said with a shrug. “I loved to travel and experience new things around the world. I knew about the big clubs that I was going to, but I didn’t really think of it and I was so young I knew I’d have plenty of time.”
But that next phase of his soccer career began to take shape when National Team scouts saw him playing for PA Classics U-16. He was invited to an 80-person U.S. Under-14 camp.
Christian Pulisic celebrates scoring against England at the 2014 Nike International Friendlies tournament in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
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