There is some hesitation when Team USA soccer coach Bruce Arena says Christian Pulisic could be the first American soccer superstar. But the coach is confident enough in the raw talent of this 19-year-old from Hershey, Pennsylvania, to say on 60 Minutes that the kid has a good chance. Sharyn Alfonsi talks to Arena and to Pulisic and his parents on the next edition of 60 Minutes Sunday, Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT.
It’s no surprise that in a sport wildly popular almost every place outside the U.S. that America has never produced a world-class soccer superstar. So with the best talent in other countries, Pulisic went to Germany for his later high school years and came up through the soccer system in Dortmund. He plays for the city’s professional team and makes over $8 million a year when endorsements are figured in.
And no wonder: He was only 17 when he scored his first goal for Dortmund. Picture even the best-ever high school baseball player hitting a home run off of the best Major League pitching. At 19, Pulisic has scored as many professional goals as Lionel Messi when he was 19. Messi is considered the world’s best player.
“It makes you think he is going to be perhaps the first American superstar in the sport. I’m willing to say that.” Coach Bruce Arena
“It makes you think he is going to be perhaps the first American superstar in the sport,” says Arena. “I’m willing to say that.” Pressed by Alfonsi that there are many who are hedging on this prediction, Arena replies. “You have to be hesitant about this but this is a very talented young man.”
Arena acknowledges the talent gap between American players and those of other countries when he describes the first time he saw Pulisic play. “First of all he doesn’t look like an American. That’s a…