In Jan. 2019, American soccer ventured into the great unknown. Christian Pulisic, America’s golden boy that many have claimed will lead American soccer to place its never gone before, signed for Chelsea FC for $73 million.
To be clear, no American player has ever come close to being valued at such a high price. The closest amount spent on an American player is $19.3 million. Pulisic became Chelsea’s third most expensive signing of all time, an impressive feat for a player that just turned 21 this past September.
When Pulisic signed for Chelsea, he indicated he wanted to see the rest of the 2018/19 season at German club Borussia Dortmund. After the club season ended and falling to Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final, Pulisic cut his vacation short to begin training with Chelsea. He also wanted to impress the newly hired manager Frank Lampard in hopes of bettering his chances for a starting spot.
Of course, the transfer would create a divide in opinions among American soccer fans. While some argued that the young forward should try to succeed at a club of Chelsea’s stature, others were more pessimistic. Chelsea doesn’t have a good record when it comes to developing young players into established stars. American fans began to fear that their most promising player would face a halt in his development.
Pulisic made his first Premier League appearance against Manchester United in a 0-4 defeat as a substitute. He started a few matches following the opening match of the season, but the playing time became hard to come by.
That struggle was at its worst when the young American didn’t even make the matchday squad against Lille in the Champions League. The match after, he only played 10 minutes having come off the bench.
Then the international break rolled around. It was a chance for Pulisic to get away from the spotlight at Chelsea and gain some confidence while playing for his country, but that didn’t go to plan either.
The Chelsea player was taken off in the 60th minute in a Nations League match against Canada. The scoreline was 0-0 and the USMNT desperately needed a goal. Pulisic came off and showed his frustration, ordering USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter to get away from his as he began to weep on the bench.
Pulisic has since made a come back at Chelsea. He’s scored important goals and has secured a starting role in Frank Lampard’s starting XI. If he keeps up his current form, the young American will become a stalwart in the Chelsea XI.
Photo Credits: Yahoo! Sports
Kyle Soto is the Sports Content Marketing Director at The Wolf Internet Radio. You can follow Kyle for soccer content on Twitter @kyledsoto.