Christian Pulisic has become influential for both Borussia Dortmund and the USMNT. - © © imago
Christian Pulisic has become influential for both Borussia Dortmund and the USMNT. - © © imago

USA and Borussia Dortmund's Christian Pulisic: "The past year has been a rollercoaster!"

Christian Pulisic is an 18-year-old wonderkid with the world at his feet. After a baptism in professional football that few could have predicted, the world is waiting with bated breath to see how high the young American's star can rise.

"The past year has been a rollercoaster," said the Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder this week in New York, where he is training with the USMNT ahead of crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Honduras.

"Being able to play for my club at a high level, and then getting called into the national team, it's amazing," said Pulisic. "Everything happened a bit too fast, but I'm just trying to stay as grounded as I can, finding a balance."

Watch: Christian Pulisic turned in a Man-of-the-Matchday performance against Wolfsburg!

Despite an abundance of young talent around him in the Bundesliga, Pulisic has become a bona fide superstar in a little under 18 months since making his Dortmund debut under Thomas Tuchel.

If being the youngest player to score twice in the German top flight in May 2016 wasn't enough, he went on to become the youngest American to start and score in a World Cup qualifier, breaking a host of other records along the way.

Widely touted as the new Landon Donovan, Pulisic is the first name on Bruce Arena's USA team sheet and the man around whom the USMNT will be built for the next decade or more, not to mention one of Peter Bosz's first picks for Dortmund.

It is huge responsibility to bear for one so young - Pulisic is still a few weeks shy of his 19th birthday - but the man himself has quickly learnt to take it all in his stride.

"Of course I hear all the stuff people talk about," Pulisic said, when asked about the hype around his rapid rise to the top.

"This kid, there's hype, whatever. I just try to keep it out of my mind as much as I can because that doesn't really matter to me. I put enough pressure on myself. I just try to do the best I can for myself and the people around me."

The coming year is set to be just as eventful, if not more so for the Pennsylvania native. He will lead the charge to take the US to the World Cup in Russia, and with the departure of Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona, Pulisic's importance to Dortmund has already increased.

Yet watching the young American play and and seeing how he carries himself in interviews, it becomes clear how this old head on young shoulders is already learning to manage expectations.

"I don't think there's too much difference [in the Dortmund squad this season]," said Pulisic. "Maybe we lost a player or two, but I kind of have the same role on the team. Whenever I’m on the field, similar to with the national team, it’s about being effective and being dangerous while helping my team be creative and score goals. I understand that and I’m excited for the new season. Whether there’s more responsibility put on me or not, I’m going to go out and try and do the same things."

Under new coach Bosz, Dortmund have recorded a perfect start to the new season, winning both their matches without conceding and scoring five goals, with a winnable trip to Freiburg next up on Matchday 3 after the international break.

Thereafter come matches against Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League, where Pulisic will have the opportunity once again to showcase his burgeoning talent in front of a wider audience. It's time to get used to seeing another American at the game's highest level.

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