Arguably the current best American player playing on the international elite stage with one of the world's elite clubs, English Premier Chelsea, scored against Man City and had numerous other chances as the top player for his side in a match that saw Chelsea beat Man City 2-1 and subsequently dethrone them as premiership champions, allowing Liverpool to claim it's first Premier League title in 30 years.
Why is the presence of Christian Pulisic in the Elite World Class Soccer Leagues so important? Let's face it there have been other American players that have played in the German Bundesliga and the English Premier League. And although that is true there has never been an American player transferred from the German top league to the English premier league for a record $73 Million which makes him the most expensive US Soccer Player Ever. Christian joined German Powerhouse Dortmund at 16 years of age and at 17 he was promoted to the first team where he became a starter. At the age of 20 Christian was transferred to Chelsea as he becomes the youngest most expensive American player ever, and look for him to become a protagonist at Chelsea, the Premier League and the US National Team.
What does this have to do with futsal you ask? Young Christian at the age of eight moved from PA, where he was born, to Detroit as his dad Mark, would coach the Detroit Ignition in the Major Indoor Soccer League. Christian is able to hang around the team where players, many Brazilians, show him moves and tricks. Young Christian proceeds to practice those moves every chance he gets on his own at his house backyard until he had mastered them.
Christian's dad, Mark, was aware that many of the world's top most creative players didn't grow up playing soccer like youth players do in the USA. Young South American players spend their early years playing futsal. At the young ages of 3 or 4 to 10 or 11 young players get more touches on the ball subconsciously become quicker and more imaginative in a futsal setting. Christian's dad knew this as he also knew that for his son to become an elite technical player, learning tricks and moves from his team's Brazilian players was not enough. He had to replicate those Brazilian players' development experience in full. The problem was that there were no futsal leagues in Detroit.
Since no other options existed, Mark Pulisic founded the first futsal league in Detroit, where three basketball courts existed at the indoor facility where his indoor Ignition team trained. It was a bold out of the ordinary move to create an entire league just to develop Christian's skills. Christian credits futsal as the key that improved his technical skills and his ability to work in tight spaces.
How important is what Mark Pulisic did not only for his son but for all the other young Detroit players? By the time Christian made his first appearance as a 15 year old player with the youth national team, the U.S. Soccer Federation would make futsal mandatory in the Development Academy.
“Why play futsal over soccer at the youth levels? Why train in a futsal environment?”
Futsal develops top level soccer players. That is the bottom line. You can take it to the bank.
You can view Pulisic highlights and goal below
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Niko is someone who believes passionately that futsal should be intentionally used as a tool for developing soccer players year-round and come first in the developing process at the younger starter age groups of 3-12 years of age. He has a massive amount of experiences, observations, thoughts and ideas from being submerged in the futsal community as a player, coach and operations director waiting to be released that could truly benefit the futsal community as well as the soccer coach that is just getting into the futsal methodology as a soccer development tool as well as the futsal game itself