Unveiling the Phenomenal Journey and Impact of Christian Pulisic: A Deep Dive into the Rise of the Soccer Sensation on the U.S. Men’s National TeaM

From his rise to stardom to the people who’ve inspired him along the way, here’s everything to know about the captain of the U.S. Men’s National Team

Christian Pulisic
Photo: Maddie Meyer – FIFA/FIFA via Getty

Meet the man who’s helping lead Team USA to World Cup victory.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest American men’s soccer talents of all time, Christian Pulisic continues to turn heads as the captain of the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) in the wake of his winning game against Iran on Nov. 29 in Qatar.

Although he victoriously scored the game-winning 1-0 goal — which guaranteed the U.S.’s spot in the knockout rounds in FIFA’s global soccer tournament — Christian collided with Iran’s goalkeeper, Alireza Beiranvand.

This resulted in a trip to the hospital after the game, in which doctors deemed his pain a “pelvic contusion.” Despite the injury, the all-star reassured fans that he will be back for the U.S. soccer team’s Dec. 3 match against the Netherlands.

While Christian (nicknamed “Captain America”) has undoubtedly proved himself as a valuable player for Team USA, he’s trail-blazed for a generation of soccer-playing Americans as a Pennsylvania native who plays at an elite level.

From his rise to stardom to the people who’ve inspired him along the way, here’s everything to know about the soccer star.

His parents also played soccer

Christian Pulisic
Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty

Christian was born in Hershey, Pennsylvania and was introduced to soccer at a young age. Why? Because he was raised by parents who played the sport themselves at George Mason University from the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Kelley Harlow of the women’s team wound up marrying Mark Pulisic of the men’s team. While Kelley only played at a collegiate level, Mark went on to play professionally for the Harrisburg Heat of the National Professional Soccer League in 1991 before retiring in 1999.

He plays for the Premier League club, Chelsea

Christian Pulisic
Justin Setterfield/Getty

Christian moved several times throughout his childhood, starting his professional career at age 16 with German club Borussia Dortmund. Now, Christian plays for the Premiere League club Chelsea.

He started playing for the English club after his January 2019 transfer from Borussia Dortmund worth $73 million, a move that made him the most expensive North American player of all time.

Some of Christian’s club highlights with Chelsea include winning the FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 2021, becoming the third USMNT player to register 20 goals in the Premier League in the midst of his fourth season and becoming the first USMNT player to appear in and win the UEFA Champions League Final in the 2020-21 edition, per U.S. Soccer’s official site.

He loves to play chess when he’s not playing soccer

Christian Pulisic
Richard Gordon/Icon Sportswire via Getty

In addition to soccer, Christian puts his competitiveness towards another game: chess. While his parents inspired his love for the physical game, his grandfather — Mark’s dad, Mate Pulisic — inspired his love for the mental game.

Mark was born on the small Croatian island of Olib and immigrated over to New York City from what was then Yugoslavia. Not only did he bring over a love of soccer, but a passion for chess as well.

“I was nowhere near his level and I wish we’d played more but I’m glad we shared that,” Christian said of playing chess with his grandfather, per The Athletic. “It’s a memory I hold close to my heart.”

When his father died in December 2020, Christian got a tattoo of a queen chess piece on his left arm to honor him. The ink — which he got after winning the Champions League — also has his grandfather’s name, Mate, beneath the image. (Mate is also Christian’s middle name.) He even has a chess piece on his cleat (pictured above)!

He’s a published author

Christian Pulisic
Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty

Christian published Pulisic: My Journey So Far, a book that chronicles the rise of his acclaimed soccer career. From his early beginnings in Hershey, Pennsylvania to becoming the captain of the U.S. national team and attaining Champions League glory, Christian talks candidly about his journey of transforming his dreams into reality.

He has one sister

Christian Pulisic and Devyn Pulisic
Devyn Pulisic/Instagram

Christian has one sibling, an older sister named Devyn Pulisic. She is very supportive of her younger brother and can often be seen cheering him on at games. Christian also shares sweet brother-sister pictures on his Instagram, showing off their tight bond.

In August, Devyn gave birth to a baby girl, Avery Joy Sawyer, making Christian an uncle.

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