Christian Pulisic understands the perception: the idea that the United States men’s national team can win the World Cup is nothing to sneeze at. Nothing about the team’s history suggests otherwise.
For outsiders, that’s fine. It does not matter. For him, going into the World Cup with a defeatist attitude would be illogical.
“If you don’t think it can happen, it won’t happen,” ESPN’s Pulisic Herculez Gomez said in an interview for Futbol Americas (Stream every episode on ESPN+). “We’ve certainly seen crazier things happen and I really think we have a strong team, a strong group of guys who can achieve anything this World Cup.”
He doesn’t want to put an artificial limit on what the team can achieve or how to define success four months before the tournament starts. What exactly would that do?
“I think we’re going there with the intention of winning the World Cup,” he said. “We’re going to come out as a confident and hungry team that will stop at nothing and we feel like we can really make a difference at this World Cup.”
Pulisic is in the United States for Chelsea’s summer tour, which kicked off with a 2-1 win over League MX club Club America in Las Vegas on Saturday. The American winger failed to score after coming on at half-time.
It’s an important preseason for Pulisic as he continues to fight for his place under manager Thomas Tuchel. Chelsea recently completed the signing of winger Raheem Sterling from Manchester City, which should make it even more difficult for Pulisic to get consistent minutes after spending in and out of the line-up last season.
“That’s life at a big club,” he said. “We have great quality and Raheem, we are very happy about that. The beauty of being at a club like this is the daily competition. We all thrive when we compete against each other in training. It’s just another great addition to the team and not much is changing.”
“I still have to play hard and take my position like I did before. Nothing crazy. That’s Chelsea. That’s what you sign up for and that’s the kind of club with the caliber of players that we have,” said Pulisic.
The club has undergone a significant number of off-field changes this offseason after transferring ownership to American businessman Todd Boehly, who also owns minority stakes in the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Dodgers. It hasn’t resulted in a big change in day-to-day life for the players, but Pulisic said Boehly’s arrival in the dressing room was well received.
“I think they came in and did a really good job talking to the players and staff and just wanting to apply the same Chelsea mentality – that winning mentality,” Pulisic said. “But also their American ways, some of their ways of doing business and how they bring that and integrate that into this team.”
Boehly isn’t the only American making his mark in the world’s biggest league. After manager Jesse Marsch was hired at Leeds United last season and helped the club avoid relegation, he brought in USA internationals Brenden Aaronson and Tyler Adams to strengthen the squad ahead of his first full season as manager. It’s a trend that Pulisic is excited about.
“I’m just very proud to see the Americans doing what they’re doing in the Premier League now,” he said. “A lot of people going to Europe and now a big manager [is in] a great job at Leeds and I think it was a good achievement that they fell by the wayside last season and I was really happy to see that. And now with Brenden, with Tyler, I think if they have a good season it will do wonders for us as a country.”
It would work toward one of the biggest goals Pulisic has for himself: to inspire the next generation of American soccer players.
“I grew up in a country where maybe it wasn’t that appealing to want to play here in the US,” he said. “My goal has always been to go to Europe and play there and I just hope the kids will watch and see what I’m doing and think, ‘Maybe one day we can have a league that’s at that level .'”
https://www.espn.com/soccer/chelsea-engchelsea/story/4701904/usmnts-christian-pulisic-talks-chelsea-futurehunger-for-world-cup-success-and-more USMNT’s Christian Pulisic talks Chelsea future, hunger for World Cup success and more