Christian Pulisic wrote a book. In his never-ending march to make you feel even worse about all the things that you never accomplished by the age of 24, you can add “published author” to the list. Sort of.
“Pulisic: My Journey So Far” is indeed a book full of Pulisic’s words, but it’s far more of an extended interview than anything else. Officially credited as “Christian Pulisic — Conversations with Daniel Melamud,” the book is constructed of several conversations between the two, interspersed with a treasure trove of pictures ranging from Pulisic’s baby photos to modern glossy stills of him playing for the United States and Chelsea.
Many USMNT fans have tracked Pulisic’s career for quite some time now, but the book pulls back the curtain on his development and younger years, as well as some more recent triumphs and tribulations. Luckily, we got an advanced copy for the new book and gleaned a few new tidbits of info about the American star.
Pulisic has a soft spot for the city of Detroit
Much has been made of Pulisic’s hometown of Hershey, Pennsylvania, as well as the year he spent in England as a child and how it helped him fall even more in love with the game. Less has been mentioned about Pulisic’s time in Detroit, where Pulisic spent time when his father, Mark, was head coach of the Detroit Ignition in the Major Indoor Soccer League.
“I made some very cool friends and ended up loving Michigan,” Pulisic says in his book amid talking about the move from England back to the States. While attending school and playing his club ball with Michigan Rush, Pulisic managed to drop in on some Ignition training sessions from time to time, where some players and his dad would kick the ball around with him.
Throughout the book, it’s clear the impact that Pulisic’s father has had on his game. Pulisic mentions how often he’d work on practicing different moves and his touch with both feet, working to make himself as two-footed a player as possible. Between the training, the travel, the work as an agent his father did, and his truly excellent mullet that he sported while playing professionally for the Harrisburg Heat, it’s impossible to ignore Mark Pulisic’s role in Christian’s story.
Pulisic carries marks from his youth career everywhere
Many of Pulisic’s youth teammates from the United States have also managed to leave an imprint on the senior national side. Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, and Haji Wright all played with U.S. youth national teams at the same time as Pulisic. But Pulisic mentions many more close friends from his youth teams in the old U.S. youth program in Bradenton, Florida that he still remains close with.
He also has a tattoo of one particularly special youth team memory: the final game of the 2013 Nike U17 International Showcase, a 4-1 victory for the United States over Brazil in which Pulisic starred. “That was the match when I felt like I could play at the highest level,” Pulisic notes. “I wanted to become a professional, I wanted to eventually move to Europe, that was my whole plan. So that day was a massive day that changed my life.”
From grabbing some ink to making sure to Facetime friends from his academy days like Danny Barbir and Nick Taitague from the field after winning the Champions League, it’s clear that the people and play from the youth USMNT have all left an impression on Pulisic.
Christian Pulisic speaks after the United States played out a 0-0 draw against Saudi Arabia in their final match before the World Cup.
Pulisic openly speaks about his struggles with depression
Pulisic also reveals some of his own mental health struggles in the new book, which coalesced around the same time that former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard was removed from the club and replaced by Thomas Tuchel, also now formerly of Chelsea.
“I was battling depression, and it was a very tough period that saw me probably hit rock bottom,” Pulisic says. He also speaks about seeing a therapist, and how the support of his family and friends in talking about his struggles was vital to him better dealing with his depression.
It was perhaps a cruel irony that Pulisic also mentioned that this was also the time that he felt that Lampard had finally begun to fully trust him as a Chelsea player, and that he immediately then needed to shift gears to a new (old) manager in Thomas Tuchel. The open manner in which Pulisic speaks on his own mental health, however, is commendable, and only further normalizes the mental health discussion for professional athletes.
Pulisic speaks on his relationship with Tuchel
One of the earliest snippets to leak out from Pulisic’s book was his speaking on the Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid, in which he claims that Tuchel had told him he would be starting, only to go back and start Kai Havertz in his place. Pulisic said he was “dumbfounded and disappointed” by Tuchel’s decision not to start him. “What happened before that game was hugely disappointing for me,” Pulisic says in the book. The quote swept up a considerable part of American soccer Twitter as confirmation that the relationship between Pulisic and Tuchel had definitively soured as time went on.
Pulisic’s book does reveal a bit more about the relationship between himself and Tuchel. “I would say he’s very intense,” Pulisic says about Tuchel’s management style. “He wants things a certain way, and he’ll let you know if it’s not the way.” Pulisic went on to credit Tuchel for his tactical nous and his skills in organizing the team.
The elephant in the room, of course, is that all of the conversations that make up Pulisic’s book occurred while Tuchel was still the manager of Chelsea, and Pulisic was still one of his players. As such, open criticism never seems to be the tone here. The comments about the Real Madrid game and Tuchel’s management style do feel like they reveal the cracks that had formed in the relationship between a player and coach, whose time together spanned multiple clubs and several years.
The book is still a collection of Pulisic’s statements, which have famously been guarded over the course of his career. But there’s still little glimpses of the player behind the careful interviews and Instagram posts to be found here.