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Young U.S. Soccer Star Christian Pulisic Is Headed To Chelsea On A Record-Breaking Contract

By Chrös McDougall | Jan. 02, 2019, 1:04 p.m. (ET)

Christian Pulisic celebrates scoring a goal against Trinidad & Tabago in the second half during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier on June 8, 2017 in Commerce City, Colorado.


One of the hottest young men’s soccer prospects the U.S. has ever produced is on his way to one of the world’s biggest teams.

Christian Pulisic, who turned 20 in September and thus will be eligible for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team, will move to English giant Chelsea this summer following four seasons with German club Borussia Dortmund. With a transfer fee of $73.1 million, Pulisic’s move shatters the existing record for an American player of $22.5 million.

“It’s a privilege to have signed for such a legendary club, and I look forward to working hard towards being a contributor to their team of world-class players,” Pulisic posted in a statement to Twitter.

A native of Hershey, Pennsylvania, Pulisic is seen as the top U.S. men’s soccer prospect since at least Landon Donovan, and possibly ever. The 5-foot-8 attacking midfielder has already played in 23 games with the U.S. national team and established himself in one of Europe’s most competitive domestic leagues.

Having signed with Borussia Dortmund in February 2015, Pulisic made his senior debut for the club in January 2016 at age 17, and that April he became the youngest non-German player to score a goal in the German league, called the Bundesliga. He’s gone on to play in 115 games in all competitions so far for Dortmund, scoring 15 goals and assisting on 24.

Though Dortmund is one of Germany’s most successful teams and has a reputation for developing quality young players, Pulisic will join a Chelsea team that is one of the most popular teams in the world.

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Based in trendy west London, Chelsea has won five Premier League titles since 2004-05 and was European champion in 2012. The Blues are currently fourth in the Premier League standings and in position to earn their 15th Champions League berth in the past 16 seasons.

“We are delighted to have signed one of Europe’s most sought-after young players,” Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said in a statement. “Christian has shown his quality during a fantastic spell in Germany and at just 20, we believe he has the potential to become an important Chelsea player for many years to come.”

That age is important to Team USA fans, as it means Pulisic will be eligible to compete in the 2020 Olympic tournament, where players must be 23 or younger. Teams that qualify can add three players who are older.

The U.S. men last qualified for an Olympic tournament in 2008 and will be looking at a talented generation of players to end that drought for the 2020 Games in Tokyo. Pulisic debuted with the senior national team in March 2016 and has scored nine goals in 23 games, having taken on an increased role since the U.S. failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Should he elect to play in the Olympics or Olympic qualifying tournament, Pulisic could join a talented young generation of U.S. players including Weston McKennie, Tim Weah and Josh Sargent, all of whom are also mainstays on the senior national team and playing for major European clubs.

The U.S. U23 team will have an opportunity to qualify for the 2020 Olympics this summer, at the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament. Details of the event have yet to be introduced.

The senior national team also returns to competitive games this summer when the U.S. hosts the Gold Cup to determine the champion of North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Pulisic will finish the 2018-19 season on loan to Borussia Dortmund before moving to Chelsea.

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.