Pulisic: Time for USA to ‘prove ourselves’ at Copa América

DALLAS — Christian Pulisic said the experience gained by the U.S. men’s national team over the past several years has it ready to achieve a higher level of success, starting with the 2024 Copa América.

The U.S. is scheduled to open the tournament, which it is hosting for the second time, on Sunday against Bolívia. And Pulisic is keen to have that match be the start of a deep run, and show the world the progress the team has made.

“Now it’s time to prove ourselves,” the forward told reporters Friday. “I think we’ve learned a lot. We’ve put some good performances in the World Cup. We’ve shown people that, OK, this team can play.

“And now it’s about not just putting in those performances, but finding a way to get results in the biggest matches. That’s the next step for us.”

Assuming he takes the field in Sunday’s match, this will be the second time Pulisic has played in a Copa América, having graced the field in a trio of matches as a substitute back in 2016.

In that tournament, Pulisic was just breaking into the side. Now he’s a mainstay and considered one of the leaders of the USMNT, even if he raises his voice only on occasion.

“For me, it’s really important to lead by just the way I conduct myself every single day in training, around the hotel, around the guys,” he said. “Also what I do on the field, in the game and show them that way.

“And if you ask anyone, I’m not the most vocal person on or off the field at all. So when I need to say something, I hope that I have a voice that people will listen to. That’s my goal. I don’t say much. I try to just put my head down and work and work, and I hope that people around see that and that can have a domino effect on everyone.”

Pulisic enters the tournament coming off the best club season of his career with AC Milan. Not only did he deliver 12 goals and eight assists in league play, but he also logged over 3,000 minutes, showing a durability that had eluded him during his time in the English Premier League with Chelsea. That has only added to his confidence.

“It was massive for me to experience that and know that I can do it, that I can keep myself healthy for most of the season,” he said. “I can put in consistent good performances and it helps me a ton coming into the tournament feeling like this and to say whether it’s my best season ever or whatnot.

“It’s easy to look at stats and stuff, but I enjoyed the season a lot and I feel really confident and good coming into this tournament for sure.”