He won’t turn 18 until September, but Christian Pulisic is living the German league dream having been propelled from youth team football to a starting place with Borussia Dortmund.
The 17-year-old capped a lightning rise through Dortmund’s ranks this season by starting on the left wing in their 1-0 win at Bayer Leverkusen last Sunday.
After three appearances off the bench, he played the first 45 minutes before making way for Germany winger Marco Reus having made his Bundesliga debut in January.
Reus is expected to start Sunday’s home match against second-from-bottom Hoffenheim with Pulisic on the bench at Borussia’s Signal Iduna Park, but the teenager is content to soak up the experience of life at one of Germany’s top sides.
“It’s been an amazing experience just to train with these guys every day. Then to go out and play in front of fans and live that moment was amazing,” he said of his start against Leverkusen.
“It was an amazing feeling to hear I was starting, it’s such an honour, especially at such a young age.
“It was great to get the experience. I was pretty cool before the game, obviously right before the start you’re nervous.
“It was good that I had had a few minutes before (as a substitute) and I was ready for this.”
The teenager from Pennsylvania is already on the radar of US national coach Jurgen Klinsmann ahead of this June’s Copa America Centenario hosted by the USA.
After representing the USA at Under-15 and Under-17 level, he was snapped up by Dortmund in January 2015 and won last season’s U-17s German title before joining up with the club’s U-19 team.
His breakthrough came when he was invited to train with the senior Dortmund squad during the January winter break.
He impressed head coach Thomas Tuchel so much that he made his Bundesliga debut as a 68th-minute substitute in the 2-0 win over Ingolstadt 04 on January 30.
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“It’s a pleasure to have him around, with his cheeky smile and his humility,” said Tuchel. “He seems shy, but he fights for everything.”
At the tender age of 17 years and 133 days, he is the eighth youngest player to feature in Germany’s top flight.
Klinsmann, who is not afraid of promoting young talent, is excited by Pulisic’s rise and wants to keep an eye on the talented teenager.
“He has a tremendous amount of talent, there is no doubt about it,” said the ex-Germany striker.
“But we’re just monitoring him right now and see him getting minutes with Dortmund is exciting for us. We’ll take it one day at a time.”
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