These past few weeks have been a tortuous period for supporters of U.S. Soccer, as American fans contemplate life without a World Cup representative in Russia next summer. For the lack of one lousy goal against Trinidad and Tobago, the whole sport here is suffering a nervous breakdown while bushels of true and false prophets declare their candidacies for president of the federation.
It’s all very depressing, which is why it was important on Tuesday to see 19-year-old Weston McKennie dart into the box and score a goal during a 1-1 draw for the national team in a friendly with Portugal. McKennie played in Germany as a young child, and he plays in Germany now, with Schalke 04. His performance was yet more evidence that American superstar Christian Pulisic was correct when he advised young prospects to escape the American soccer system.
This week, Pulisic suggested as much in a piece he contributed to The Players’ Tribune. Pulisic wrote that it was only his dual citizenship (he owns a Croatian passport, by way of his grandfather) that allowed him to join Dortmund’s youth program in Germany and develop his skills to their current, impressive level.