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Pulisic optimistic about USMNT future

Pulisic optimistic over USMNT future despite missing out on 2018 World Cup

November 14, 2017 By Ali M.
Ahead of their clash with Portugal, the BVB ace boasted a positive tone despite failing to book a ticket to Russia for next year.

With Chile and most recently Italy being some of the biggest nations not to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the world has moved on from the United States’ failure to book their ticket to Russia. Their shortcoming, however, still resonates in the hearts of USMNT supporters.

A 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago on the final day saw the CONCACAF giants finish in fifth, behind Mexico; Costa Rica; Panama; and Honduras. Bruce Arena has since been sacked, with promising talent Christian Pulisic offering an optimistic view on the future of US soccer.

The BVB ace opened up about the heartbreak of not qualifying for a World Cup for the first time since 1986, penning a candid article on The Players’ Tribune. “In my heart, I knew it was over when we walked off the field,” the 19-year-old wrote.

“I knew it was over. But I still had to know. I asked one of our assistants, ‘What were the other scores?’” The news was bad, as the other results left Pulisic and Co. outside even the fourth-placed playoff spot. 

Fans were quickly sent into dismay. With USMNT being unable to rely on Clint Dempsey and Landon Donavon anymore to bail them out when in need of a miracle, the North American powerhouse’s future was cast into serious doubt. Pulisic, however, can only see a brighter tomorrow.

“But there’s going to be a World Cup after that. And a World Cup after that. And a World Cup after that. And I think — I hope — that we’re going to be able to build something, here, with U.S. Soccer, where it’s not just going to be about one lost match, or one lost cycle, or one lost team. It’s going to be about an entire country, rallying around an entire sport, in a way that lasts.

“So let’s plan on it, then — 2022. Get your basements ready, and mark it down. We’ll be there.”

Pulisic, despite insisting “I’m not a prodigy”, is one of a few American players plying their trade in a top-level European league. The teenager credits his meteoric rise to the golden opportunity of joining BVB’s U17 squad at the age of 16.

This opportunity, however, left the Bundesliga ace with one question: “Why is it that E.U. players are allowed to move country once they turn 16 … but non-Europeans can only do so at 18?”

Pulisic was allowed to move to Germany upon turning 16 due to his dual US-Croatian citizenship. Other USA players would have to wait two more years, time Christian feels is pivotal to a young player’s development.

“Why aren’t we campaigning for a level playing field, where our best 16 year olds — who may not have an E.U. passport like I had — are free to move when they turn 16, like the best young players in Europe can?”

“And in the meanwhile, as long as some of our best young players aren’t getting the opportunity like I had to go to Europe when they’re 16 … are we doing everything in our power to make sure the level of play in U.S. soccer is high enough so that they can continue to develop up to their maximum potential?”

Nonetheless, Pulisic still believes USMNT’s young players show great talent regardless of the aforementioned handicap. Of course, USA’s international success depends on those players achieving their full potential, something the Dortmund attacker is striving to do.

Although missing out on Russia is unbearable, the only thing the Stars and Stripes can do is correct their past mistakes starting from their next game. That will be a tough fixture, though, as Pulisic and Co. are in Portugal to face the Euro 2016 champion in a friendly.

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