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Christian Pulisic is not Freddy Adu and it's unfair to think he is


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This nonsense has to stop. Christian Pulisic's emergence on the Bundesliga scene with Borussia Dortmund this season has been incredibly entertaining to watch as an avid follower of American soccer. The insistence of some paranoid people to compare his rise and subsequent publicity to that of Freddy Adu's is completely wrong.

Granted that both are/were extremely talented young players, but there's a big difference between being a child prodigy at 14 and a young up-and-coming soccer prospect at 17. One is the natural career course hundreds of promising players take to the professional ranks and the other is a complete farce of youth development.

You can look at any big club in the world and see a promising 17-year-old kid who is ready to play at the highest level. The problem for them is that those clubs are usually so deep that it's not necessary. Every once in a while, a situation like Borussia Dortmund comes along where such a player does have the chance to get first-team minutes. Christian Pulisic earned his chance and has taken full advantage of it. He's earned everything he's gotten this season and hasn't been handed anything because of his status as a child prodigy.

A 14-year-old has no business playing professional soccer in any league in the world. It's just not responsible youth development. There's no career arc there to be had. Freddy Adu was handed everything at an incredibly young age and it would lead to his downfall as a professional player. Fans of the U.S. national team and soccer in USA want to blame his unraveling on pressure and hype from media and the public and they aren't unjustified in doing so. But the same doesn't apply for a 17-year-old who has worked extremely hard to get where he is now. You don't get to the Bundesliga and become a consistent first-team player by being mentally weak.

Christian Pulisic has been receiving praise long before he starting scoring goals in one of the best leagues in the world. He's been the top American soccer prospect for the last several years and has inevitably seen his name in headlines for that duration of time if not longer. Something tells me he can handle people being excited about his play on the field.

Soccer fans watch the sport of soccer to be entertained and have fun. What Christian Pulisic is doing right now is entertaining and pointing that out isn't going to magically change the course of his career. His growing pains as a professional will inevitably come and the same mental toughness that has gotten him this far will help him through.

We've never seen a young player like this play so well at such a high level this early in his career. It's time to just sit back and enjoy it instead of fretting about "ruining" his career by saying nice things about him.