Hershey native Christian Pulisic will get a homecoming to the Philadelphia region next month when he joins the U.S. men’s soccer team for a Memorial Day friendly against Bolivia in Chester.
National team head coach Dave Sarachan made the announcement Wednesday morning at Talen Energy Stadium.
After the game here, the U.S. will travel to Europe for games in Ireland on June 2, and France on June 9.
He has played 39 games this season for his club, Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, in all competitions — including five in the UEFA Champions League and three in the Europa League. He has four goals and six assists in German league action, and one assist in the Europa League.
Dortmund has had a subpar season by its high standards. It is in third place in the Bundesliga this season, and has been out of European competition since February. It finished in third place in a UEFA Champions League group that also included powers Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur, then was knocked out of the Europa League by Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg.
After the season ends next month, Dortmund — or at least those of its players who aren’t going to the World Cup — will head to California for a May 22 friendly at MLS expansion team Los Angeles FC. Pulisic will then travel to Philadelphia to join the national team, which will have assembled here by then.
“I’m really excited to play in Philadelphia — obviously that’s so close to my home, and a lot of my family will be there,” Pulisic said in a statement issued by U.S. Soccer. “Any time I get to put on the U.S. crest, I’m really excited. ... I’m going to get to see some new faces, and I think the team is going to enjoy the trip.”
One of those new faces will be Josh Sargent, an 18-year-old forward from the St. Louis suburbs who in January signed with German club Werder Bremen.
Sargent has yet to play in a professional game, but was one of the top U.S. players at last year’s FIFA Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups. He received his first senior national team call-up for last November’s game at Portugal, but did not play due to an injury.
“There’s old-school thinking that, ‘Well, he’s got to earn his way, he hasn’t played yet.’ … but I don’t think a guy should be punished because of that,” Sarachan said. “I think clearly he’s demonstrated at the levels he’s played at that he’s got a real chance.”
— J.R. Eskilson (@JREskilson) October 16, 2017
The rest of the roster will be assembled over the course of the next few weeks. Sarachan said it will be “a little bit tricky” to figure out who will be on the squad, because the time period is not an official FIFA window for national team games.
As such, players called in from Major League Soccer teams could miss three or four games with their clubs. Sarachan expects to shuffle the deck after the Bolivia game.
“It’s a delicate balance to be able to include players that have a pretty busy fixture [schedule] domestically,” he said. “I want to be cognizant of, and be sort of fair to, certain clubs with Major League Soccer. … For our match against Bolivia it [the roster] would maybe slightly tipped with more Major League Soccer players, and when we go to Europe maybe a little bit more tipped toward European-based players.”