Christian Pulisic and El Salvador midfielder Leonardo Menj var (13) battle for the ball in a CNL match in March. (Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis Editor

After a season in which he was just about ignored at Chelsea, Christian Pulisic has embraced playing for the U.S. men’s national team in the Concacaf Nations League final four later this month.

Who could blame the 24-year-old forward?

Pulisic played only 812 minutes over 24 English Premier League appearances and eight starts for the Blues. He scored only once in league play.

“It’s been a really tough season for me personally, and for our team, of course at a club level,” Pulisic said during a Zoom media press conference on Monday. “For me, it’s just about coming in here and having a fresh start and being able to be a part of a team that hopefully can come out and win some games.

“So I’m really excited to be here and just to get some minutes on the field and just get back to being that confident player that I that I know I can be and just find my footing again and just enjoying the game because it feels like it’s been tough to do that lately.”

The Hershey, Pa. native hopes to get plenty of playing time against Mexico in the CNL semifinals in Las Vegas on June 15. The Americans will meet either Canada or Panama in the final or third-place match on June 18.

Pulisic might have played his last game for the Blues. He could wind up with another club during the summer transfer window. Reports and rumors have him linked with Juventus of Italy’s Serie A.

“It’s been an interesting journey at club level for me,” he said. “I thought it was a great couple of years. The last couple years just haven’t gone at all how I’ve planned them to be. Right now, my focus is obviously here with the national team.

“As of right now, I’m a Chelsea player and I plan to go back but a lot of things can happen, a lot of things can change.”

Pulisic and his USMNT teammates know about change. They will be playing under their head coach in six months. Gregg Berhalter’s contract ran out on Dec. 31, and he was replaced by an assistant coach, Anthony Hudson. Hudson, however, took a lucrative head coaching job in Saudi Arabia last week, opening the door for another assistant, B.J. Callaghan.

“It’s all come as a bit of a surprise for us, I think with some of the changes just as much as it is for you,” he said. “We’re dealing with it as best we can.”

The team hasn’t had much input as to who will be named permanent head coach as the team looks toward the 2026 World Cup.

“We’ve given our input as much as we can,” Pulisic said. “It’s not our job as players to appoint a manager or whatever the deal is. We’re just here to come out and perform as best we can, no matter who the coach is.”

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at