Dempsey on How Pulisic Could Become the Best American Footballer Ever


CBS Sports/Paramount+ did a media Zoom call yesterday, to preview the two UEFA finals and the upcoming CONCACAF summer. During that session Clint Dempsey was asked what Christian Pulisic needs to do to become the greatest American player in the history of the Premier League?

An NBC Sports article in July of 2020 ranked him the fourth-best already, ahead of number five McBride, and behind number three Brad Friedel, number two Tim Howard and the man in the top spot, Dempsey himself. In 218 appearances with Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur, Dempsey scored 57 goals, which actually matches the 57 that he scored for the Stars and Stripes, leaving him tied with Landon Donovan as the USMNT’s all-time leading scorer.

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Watch: CBS Sports Network, Paramount+, Peter Drury and Rob Green on the call

ESPN, FOX Sports, and NBC Sports all ranked Dempsey as the greatest American men’s soccer player in history. Across all competitions, he scored 72 goals with Premier League clubs, the most ever by an American in a top-tier European league. 

During the media session, another panelist on the call, CBS Sports Coordinating Producer Pete Radovich referred to Dempsey, multiple times, as the greatest American ever.

Dempsey said that health will be key for Pulisic.

“He just needs to keep doing what he’s been doing,” answered Dempsey. “He’s already done a great job and broken a lot of records, I think he’ll continue to break more.

“The most important thing for him is to stay healthy, and the world is his.”

While he’s been injury-prone, both at BVB and Chelsea, he’s also shown an ability to convalesce quickly. Injuries meant that he only played a total of 1,727 minutes out of the 4,950 possible for Chelsea players in 2019/20. Believe it or not, the Greatest American Hero (potentially) saw his 20/21 season very much riddled by injuries as well. 


However, Pulisic publicly rejects the narrative that he’s “injury-prone,” just as any superstar athlete with ambition would.

This is going to be a massive summer for Pulisic, and the rest of the United States National Team. It looks like we’re finally going to see the new, emerging young golden generation of the US Men’s team, finally playing together all at the same time. 

Prior to that, we have the first Champions League final, on Memorial Day Weekend no less, to feature an American on the roster; two actually. Zack Steffen, Manchester City’s No. 2, will be on the opposite sideline.

“It’s an intense period of time for them,” said Kate Abdo, who was also on the call, of Steffen and Pulisic.

“There’s nothing with more pressue than being in a Champions League Final.


“There’s no bigger stage to play on, and a lot of Americans have been waiting for this group to come together, and play altogether, which has obviously been complicated by COVID and travel restrictions, and other restrictions, but now for that to be able to happen, and happen in a game that’s meaningful is high pressure, but also super exciting.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.


  1. As a big fan of Pulisic since he started at Dortmund, his problem for me is his incapacity to defend.

  2. Anonymous says

    His issue is his inability to hold the ball up or deal with a defender like Rodri. He also can’t shoot from outside the box or hit one timers.

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