Christian Pulisic Has New Opportunities at Chelsea, Says Brian McBride (Exclusive)

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Christian Pulisic is the face of U.S. Soccer and he has a chance to win a trophy with the Stars & Stripes before he joins up with his new teammates at Chelsea this preseason. Pulisic and the United States Men’s National Team will take on Jamaica in the Gold Cup semifinals tomorrow. 

Should they advance, they’ll meet the Mexico-Haiti winner in the final at Soldier Field on Chicago’s lakefront. Today brought a Gold Cup Final media and fan event, held at Chicago’s Union Station, where we had an exclusive chat with local soccer hero Brian McBride. 

The fifth all-time leading scorer in USMNT history and native of suburban Arlington Heights was on hand to take questions from media and interact with fans at the Gold Cup Station. McBride sees opportunities for Pulisic at Stamford Bridge that may not have materialized had he stayed at Borussia Dortmund. 

“You look at a young player that’s talented,” the current ESPN FC Analyst said of Pulisic, “who isn’t afraid to challenge himself, to put himself in situations in unknown scenarios, and tasked to play up to those scenarios and he hasn’t failed once.”

“And that’s really bright thing, not only for his future, but for the future of U.S. Soccer and he’s someone that’s going to be imminently important moving forward.”

Pulisic, one of the very few bright spots in the USA’s escape against Curacao in the quarterfinals, is an individual of whom very much is expected. BVB club legend Patrick Owomoyela told us during an exclusive interview last week that he could see the 20-year-old deemed “Wonder Boy” by USMNT legend Alexi Lalas filling the void left by Eden Hazard. 

And the Yanks head coach Gregg Berhalter, during our exclusive this past winter, also believes great things are going to come from Pulisic making the move to Chelsea. (a transaction by the way which shattered the transfer fee record for an American).

“No matter where you play you always want to grow, and he’ll have the opportunity to do that,” said McBride, who won Player of the Year twice at another London club, Fulham.

“Certainly at Borussia Dortmund he had some some high level talented players- that’s going to go up. The competitiveness of the Premier League is there for everybody to see.”

“In a scenario of him being in one of the best teams in England, he’s going to be surrounded by many talented players and there’s going to be opportunities for him that he may not have had, if he stayed at Dortmund.”

Chelsea are going to suffer some growing pains this season of course, as they have to adjust to a new manager, the loss of Hazard and life under a transfer ban.

“It’s going to be an interesting offseason for him, knowing they can’t sign any new players, which I’m surprised they haven’t been able to overturn it- for at least one transfer window, but with that being said, it probably means he’ll have a lot more opportunity to play,” said McBride, who was so popular at Fulham that they renamed the Craven Cottage sports bar in his honor.

“That first preseasons is important so he’ll miss the early part of that, but him being there, getting to know his teammates, the formation and it looks like (Frank) Lampard is going to be coaching.”

“There’s mental challenges but these are all things that help a player improve,” the former Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew star continued.

McBride concluded by extolling the virtues of the west London side.

brian mcbride

“I can tell you with first hand knowledge that Chelsea is a organization that will always try and make sure it’s the best for you to grow.”

“And you want that as a young player in a new situation you want the club looking out for you, Chelsea’s done that with all the players that have come through,” he said.

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

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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