Christian Pulisic’s Youth Team And Three Other Michigan World Cup Connections

Written By Paul Costanzo on November 9, 2022 - Last Updated on May 9, 2024
Christian Pulisic USMNT

The 2022 Men’s World Cup is being played about as far from Michigan as possible, with kickoff in Qatar scheduled for Nov. 20.

But that doesn’t mean the Great Lake State won’t be represented. Kind of.

There aren’t many, but Michigan does have some connections to this year’s edition of the World Cup, including a direct link to US Men’s National Team star forward Christian Pulisic and his family. 

Christian Pulisic played youth soccer in Michigan

US Soccer’s biggest male star is a native of Pennsylvania, but he did play some youth soccer in Michigan.

Pulisic played for the Michigan Rush in 2006-07 as his dad was coaching the Detroit Ignition indoor soccer team. 

Tales of his dominance as an 8-year old playing up multiple age divisions are legendary.

He eventually went back to Pennsylvania for about seven years before joining the Borussia Dortmund youth team in Germany in 2015.

He made his first team debut with Dortmund in January 2016 at just 17 years old

Pulisic now plays for Chelsea in the English Premier League, and has 20 goals in 86 appearances.

Can we credit Michigan with all of his soccer success? Probably not. Is that going to stop us from claiming him anyway? Absolutely not.

Christian Pulisic’s dad coached the Detroit Ignition

Look, there aren’t many connections between Michigan and the World Cup, so we’re counting this one, too.

Mark Pulisic coached the Ignition in their inaugural season in 2006-07. They finished first in the Major Indoor Soccer League II that year, and lost in the championship game. For his efforts, Pulisic was named MISL Coach of the Year.

The Ignition played at Compuware Arena in Plymouth, and lasted for three seasons, winning the Xtreme Soccer League title in 2009.

Western Michigan graduate is a scout for USMNT

Eric Laurie, a scout and opponent analyst for the USMNT, has Michigan roots.

He attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College from 2008-10, and Western Michigan University from 2010-12. 

While at Western, Laurie coached soccer at Grace Christian University in Grand Rapids.

Laurie joined the USMNT this past April, and spent the seven years prior to that as a coach and analyst within the Molde FK organization in Norway.

Soccer bars in Michigan to watch the World Cup

You might be asking, how is this a connection? 

It’s connecting viewers’ eyeballs to the games, right? That’s what we thought.

But soccer is definitely more fun to watch with friends – who could forget the videos of fans celebrating together when Landon Donovan scored against Algeria in 2010? – and there are several “soccer bars” throughout the state that allow you to do that.

These aren’t the only places you can watch a soccer match, of course. Many sports bars are likely to carry World Cup matches, including Michigan sportsbooks which will no doubt have plenty of options for betting on the World Cup. But these eight are listed on the Premier League website.

Photo by Jeff Dean / Associated Press
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Paul Costanzo

Paul Costanzo is the managing editor of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. He has covered news and sports throughout the state at various media outlets over the past 20 years. Paul works with a talented team at PlayMichigan to provide the latest news and information on Michigan’s booming sports betting, online casino and online poker industries.

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