U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Christian Pulisic isn’t ready to move on from the World Cup qualifying failure.
Pulisic sat down with ESPN to discuss, among other topics, the country’s failure to qualify for next summer’s World Cup in Russia. He says the pain from that 2-1 loss in Trinidad & Tobago will be with him for a long, long time.
“It’ll never really go away,” he said. “I don’t think [the hurt] is ever going to completely go away until I’m in a World Cup.”
He will have to wait until at least 2022 to truly get over that defeat, but until then, he’s using his success at Borussia Dortmund to mask the disappointment.
“It took me some time, but I moved on, of course, and I think that’s really important,” Pulisic added. “If anything, it’s given me a bigger platform to just focus on at club level and do what I can here, without that in my brain.”
He also had some comments about the state of American soccer in light of the World Cup failure. He doesn’t think the system needs a total overhaul, but that it needs to build on the foundation that’s already there.
“It’s not about completely restarting. It’s not like we have everything wrong or we panic,” he said. “It’s about developing what we already have into even better. I think if we continue to do that then of course players will come up and there will be new talents. I think if we do that and build on what we already have, we can really create something.”
He also praised how Germany has developed young players over the years. He enjoyed how the system turns kids into full professionals without the need for a “pay-to-play” system, which he admits could be holding the United States back.
He’s overall thankful that he made the move to Germany when he did, despite being only 16-years-old at the time. It helped him develop into the premier player on the USMNT in ways he never would have had he stayed in America to hone his skills.
“I’ve been right there, I see it every day; I literally went through the [German] system. I think what I learned and how I learned from going through when you’re 17 until you’re 19 and fighting everyday with other players — you’re fighting for a pro contract, really — is something we definitely can learn from,” he said. “It’s a system that I’d never really experienced in the U.S. I would have never got something like this, and I think this is the biggest reason why I’ve grown so much as a player.”