Yesterday saw the debut of Christian Pulisic in a Chelsea FC shirt, as he came on as a second half substitute during a friendly being played in Japan. It marked a massive moment for American soccer, as the most expensive American born player in history debuted with his new team.
Elsewhere in the world, in South Bend, Indiana, two of his former coaches (sort of) spoke of the Chelsea winger’s promise and development. At Notre Dame Stadium (a venue that Jurgen Klopp finds “brilliant”), Pulisic’s former club, Borussia Dortmund, beat Liverpool FC 3-2 before 43,000 heat soaked fans.
Favre coached the 20-year-old Hershey, Pennsylvania native this past season. Pulisic was also mentored by Favre’s predecessor at Dortmund, Thomas Tuchel, and was in the BVB youth system for one year (2015) while Klopp was in charge of the Bundesliga side.
So we start with the reaction of the ever quotable, media darling Jurgen Klopp. The German was asked the top question in American soccer press conference bingo, the ever so stale cliched “growth of the game” query.
The Liverpool boss was not asked about Pulisic, but he did mention him, in addition to the explosive growth of MLS and the global dominance of the women’s team, who won their fourth World Cup a couple weeks ago.
The women’s football shows the potential in America is so big and I think a lot of young talents are coming up,” Klopp said.
“Tonight [Giovanni] Reyna played, Christian Pulisic… Dortmund are very positive about Reyna and Christian Pulisic everybody knows. So, the talents are coming and the understanding for the game will grow, but it is no criticism. If you ask me about the rules of baseball I still struggle. We have a different history – our football, soccer, history is longer and yours in other sports is longer, so it’s no criticism from our side
“I think each game we can play and use as a kind of commercial for this wonderful game, we should play.”
As for Favre, he was asked about how BVB will, during this upcoming season, replace what was lost when Pulisic moved on to Chelsea.
Obviously, they still have a lot of talent and depth on the wings; reinforced with the signings of Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt this summer.
“He was a very important player for us, but at the beginning of this season he was very good, but had he had many injuries, three or four,” said Favre. “And he couldn’t play.
The second year boss backs Pulisic to make a huge impact at Stamford Bridge this season, and beyond in the future as well.
“And at the end of the season he was again very good but between those times he was injured three or four times,” Favre continued.
“But he is a very good player and if he continues like this he will be a very important player in the future.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.