For the first time in history, an American by the name of Christian Pulisic has won the UEFA Champions League. But how big of a deal is this, and will it impact the future of the Beautiful Game in the US?
The answers are simple. Yes, this is a huge deal that could significantly impact the future and growth of soccer in America.
The Stigma Against American “Soccer”
The sport of football or “soccer” as it’s known in the States has been facing an identity crisis for years now. There is a bias against soccer worldwide and even within the US. Despite being the most-watched sport around the world, America as a whole tends to favor watching other sports. Basketball and American football are among the sports more predominant than soccer in the USA. The primary league in the US, known as Major League Soccer or simply as the MLS, is commonly ridiculed by fans around the world. The league is not as competitive as other European leagues and the use of the word “soccer” instead of “football” draws plenty of ire on its own.
Additionally, the United States has not been known to boast the best players. Despite having a few talents emerge in recent times, the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) have continually struggled in major world tournaments and even infamously failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Overall, the US doesn’t have the greatest reputation in the sport. However, what Christian Pulisic achieved with Chelsea last Saturday has the chance to send American soccer down a newer, brighter path.
A Step in the Right Direction for Christian Pulisic and US Soccer
Last Saturday, the world witnessed history the moment Christian Pulisic stepped onto the pitch.
The moment Christian Pulisic became the first male American to play in and win a European Cup 🏆 pic.twitter.com/XD7ahuTkiP— Champions League on CBS Sports (@UCLonCBSSports) May 29, 2021
The UEFA Champions League is seen as the most prestigious club trophy in all of Europe. Winning this competition is seen as one of the highest achievements in the sport. This makes seeing an American player win it all…bizarre to say the least. But for American fans, well, you simply cannot script this! We are finally seeing the world talk about one of our own, and it is truly special.
Seeing a United States player conquer Europe’s top prize is a crucial step in the right direction for American soccer. The spotlight has taken a focus on the United States for a positive reason. Hopefully, this will continue a trend of watching American players achieve more in the Beautiful Game.
Chrisitian Pulisic a Sign of Changing Times
Twitter of course erupted after Chelsea’s Champions League triumph, and fans were quick to comment on one particular player hailing from Hershey, PA:
To have your name chanted by thousands in the Champions League as an American playing for Chelsea…That’s never happened before #christianpulisic— SoConJohn22 (@SoConJohn22) May 29, 2021
The Legacy of Pulisic’s Champions League Victory
With this triumph, Christian Pulisic continues his journey pioneering the world stage of soccer as an American player. His career provides proof that players from the United States are capable of hanging with the best.
Most of all though, Christian Pulisic’s Champions League victory provides inspiration for the next generation of rising American stars. He’s proved it is possible for Americans to succeed and excel in the sport of soccer. This moment will undoubtedly be remembered as a key stepping stone in the growth of American soccer as a whole.