Perhaps the biggest disappointing factor of the United States men’s national team missing their first World Cup in over thirty years is that we’d lost a chance to see Christian Pulisic perform on the world’s stage. Sure we’ve gotten to see him in a Champions League game or two and some important Bundesliga matches, but nothing compares to the World Cup. The dream was abruptly paused over a month ago now.
Pulisic has a message for all the U.S. Soccer fans out there. He took to The Players’ Tribune to write a long letter about his feelings on the USA missing the World Cup and what the future holds for him and the national team.
He begins the letter with how it felt on that painful night in Trinidad and then tries to explain why it’s taken him so long to come out publicly with comments on the qualification failure.
“So to have come this far, in these four years since [Clint Dempsey’s goal vs. Ghana] was scored — to have made the team, and to have been a goal away from qualifying … and then to have fallen short? It hurt more than I can really put into words.”
While he begins his message with a tone of sadness, he ends it a note of optimism and looking forward. If you’re like me, you’re probably still in shock and slightly depressed about the USA’s World Cup absence. But after reading these words, you’ll be ready to run through a wall to get to 2022.
“I just want every USA soccer fan reading this to understand, that no matter what decisions are made over these next couple of years … no matter what changes are implemented … no matter who the coach is, or what the roster looks like: I’m going to be obsessed with winning. And I’m going to be obsessed with doing my part to help U.S. Soccer get over the hump.
Because yeah, O.K. … we’re not going to the World Cup.
But there’s going to be a World Cup after that. And a World Cup after that. And a World Cup after that. And I think — I hope — that we’re going to be able to build something, here, with U.S. Soccer, where it’s not just going to be about one lost match, or one lost cycle, or one lost team. It’s going to be about an entire country, rallying around an entire sport, in a way that lasts.
So let’s plan on it, then — 2022.
Get your basements ready, and mark it down.
We’ll be there.”
You have to love the young man’s confidence. He did everything in his power to make his own World Cup dream become a reality but it wasn’t enough. Hopefully in these next four years, U.S. Soccer will have found the right formula to help get their prized star to the promised land.
Read the full Players’ Tribune letter here, including Pulisic’s thoughts on FIFA’s rules on transfers to Europe for young players.