It’s hard to believe that Christian Pulisic is only 22 years old as long as he’s been making headlines for his soccer skills. Part of it is a will for his will. Though men’s football has been on a downturn in America recently, Pulisic is a rising star overseas. The untold story, however, is about a young child whose parents allowed him to exploit a loophole that allowed him to turn pro while his friends were still playing at high school levels.

Too good, too fast

Pulisic grew up in a town more known for its candy than its soccer wonder: Hershey, Pennsylvania. After showing promise as a kid, his parents wasted no time getting him on the fast lane of a professional career. As the grandson of a Croatian man who emigrated in 1960, Pulisic found a gap that allowed him to play professionally at the age of 16.

This is not strange in Europe, but a rarity in the US. American football players don’t have the same opportunities as their overseas counterparts. After all, many American athletes are expected to attend college before entering the pros. This means that those who wish to turn pro at 16 often have to wait three or four years, depending on when their birthday lands. However, due to Pulisic’s Croatian heritage, he was able to secure the passport required for playing overseas in Europe.

He finally followed in the footsteps of football legends Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembélé and Erling Haaland and signed with Borussia Dortmund’s youth program. Many young athletes spend months, if not years, there to prove themselves in the big leagues. Pulisic only needed 15 games. It’s proof of his talent, but the whole story goes back to parents who have been by his side from the start.

Kelley and Mark Pulisic about their son

Christian’s parents could quickly have forced him to finish high school on a traditional course, go to college or the pros, and follow a standard track to become a superstar. However, they saw their son’s passion for the game and knew that he had what it takes to be special. Being a soccer parent, especially to a young child prodigy, meant sacrificing and learning how to deal with it.

Granted, Kelley learned how to change spontaneously as parents. Seeing their behavior, she told Soccer Parenting how she wanted to raise herself to be a good role model for her son.

“We had to resign because it was just blaming the referee and blaming it and just being negative to other kids,” she said. “It’s terrible for me. They are children. You can’t do that. It’s a team game at a young level. Nobody needs that. “

In a world where sports parents often have a reputation for being aggressive and abusive, Kelley and Mark tried to be practical while their son dictated what happened next.

“I think the parents who might just be, go, go, go, go,” Kelley told the website. “Trying to get that extra training, the personal training, the team training in all sorts of different teams (emphasized). We didn’t do that. We just said, “Train a little alone, train with your main team when you get called up to the national team …” We tried to just take it to one level, “she said, telling the site that they were holding their hands believed -off approach would produce the best results.

It must have worked. Mark and Kelley sacrificed, learned on the fly, and invested in their son’s journey. They saw the young Christian grow into the superstar he is.

An American in Europe

Pulisic isn’t just great for a young American soccer player. He’s great at every level. When he came to Dortmund’s highest level, he was the youngest foreign player to score in the Bundesliga. With a young superstar in the middle, the men’s national team naturally came into play. Pulisic was the youngest player to score a goal in the men’s national team.

In his second season with Chelsea in the Premier League, Pulisic’s career is still young. However, thanks to the sacrifices of his parents and a little luck with a passport, he can fulfill his dreams. It shows that Americans can still be great at football, whether they go a traditional route or not.