Under normal circumstances, 17-year-old phenom Christian Pulisic would be a huge part of the US Under-20 national team.
But these aren’t exactly normal circumstances for the Borussia Dortmund midfielder, who, according to US U-20 head coach Tab Ramos, might never play with the Under-20 side.
Ramos told American Soccer Now’s Brian Sciaretta in an interview published on Wednesday that Pulisic, who made his senior national team debut last month and recently became the youngest player in history to record two Bundesliga goals, will likely never play for the U-20s, who will attempt to qualify for the 2017 U-20 World Cup next February.
“Will he play for our U-20 national team? Chances are he probably will not,” Ramos said. “I think it has a lot to do with what the senior national team coach has, what he schedule of the senior national team is, and how we view our program at the moment. If we feel Christian is probably not going to start with our senior team, is not going to get a lot of playing time over the next month, and it is important that we do well with the U-20s and to see how he can do on the world stage with the best players of that age.
“So that is why I never eliminate players. … With Pulisic I want to say probably not – but not absolutely not.”
Ramos also discussed a bevy of other topics in the wide-ranging interview, including the fallout from another failed Olympic qualifying campaign and the talent in the rising crop of U-20s he'll be working with in the months ahead.
Real Salt Lake fans will want to take note of his high praise for one of their club's prized prospects.
“There's [RSL Homegrown midfielder] Danny Acosta, who I believe can possibly be the best No. 6 I’ve seen in U-20 cycles—or least the last three or four cycles,” said Ramos.
“We had [Columbus Crew SC's] Wil Trapp here two cycles ago. That’s saying a lot. Danny is not with the first team. He’s playing mostly with the second team [USL's Real Monarchs] but he’s getting time. That’s a good example of somebody who is developing, getting USL minutes. That’s a good thing for us.”