Pulisic taking USMNT coaching changes in stride
Christian Pulisic takes coaching changes in stride, whether at Chelsea or now the U.S. national team.
The top American has played for three managers in four seasons at Stamford Bridge, where Mauricio Pochettino takes over this summer. Pulisic will be working with his third U.S. coach in seven months when the Americans meet Mexico on June 15 at Las Vegas in a CONCACAF Nations League semifinal.
Anthony Hudson became interim coach in January after Gregg Berhalter's contract expired, then quit and was replaced last week by B.J. Callaghan.
“It’s all come as a bit of a surprise for us,” Pulisic said Monday after practice in Carson, California. “We’re dealing with it as best we can. We’ve spoken and given our input as much as we can. It’s not our job as players to appoint a manager or whatever the deal is, but we’re just here to come out and perform as best we can, no matter who the who coach is.”
Berhalter was moved aside while the U.S. Soccer Federation hired a law firm to investigation a domestic violence incident from three decades ago brought to its attention by the family of Gio Reyna, which was angered when Berhalter used the midfielder sparingly at the World Cup and nearly sent him home for lack of hustle in training. The law firm said there was no impediment to retaining Berhalter.
“I think he should be considered,” Pulisic said. “I think he did a great job with the team. He brought us a long way. I think a lot of people and a lot of guys on the team especially would agree with that.”
Callaghan joined Berhalter’s staff as an assistant coach in 2019.
“We know him well. We know what he’s all about. He’s not going to come in and try to change everything,” Pulisic said, “He’s going to come in, give some new ideas, give input. And obviously, you know, make sure (to) run by everything with the team, with some of the leadership guys.”
Incoming USSF sporting director Matt Crocker expects to recommend a long-term coach pick by end summer.
A 24-year-old midfielder, Pulisic joined Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund for the 2019-20 season and has played for Frank Lampard, Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter and Lampard again. After scoring 19 Premier League goals in his first three seasons, Pulisic had one this season and none in 20 Chelsea matches after Oct. 8, including 16 in the Premier League. He made just two starts after Jan. 5.
"It’s been an interesting journey at club level for me. I had what I thought a great couple of years and the last couple of years just haven’t gone at all how I planned them to be," Pulisic said.
Chelsea, the 2021 European champion, finished 12th in the Premier League this season, its lowest since 1994.
“It’s been a really tough season for me personally and for our team,” Pulisic said. "I’m really excited to be here and just to get some minutes on the field and just get back to being that confident player that I know I can be and just find my footing again and just enjoying the game because it feels like it’s been tough to do that lately."
Pulisic's contract with Chelsea expires after the 2023-24 season, and it's unclear whether he will remain with the Blues.
“It’s obviously very early,” he said. “As of right now, I’m a Chelsea player and I plan to go back, but a lot of things can happen, a lot of things can change.”