Christian Pulisic sounds off on USMNT direction

Speaking with ESPN's Graham Hunter in an interview at his home in London, Christian Pulisic gave voice to what many are presumably thinking ahead of a pivotal 2023 calendar year (at least I know I am). 

Regarding the recent past and immediate future of the program, Pulisic called for the "extremely childish" saga between the Berhalters and Reynas to just end already. Regarding the road to hosting the 2026 World Cup, Pulisic wondered how in the hell — after all the work and achievements of the previous cycle — we somehow find ourselves back in 2017/2018 again with an interim manager and no clear path forward.

"I'm not here to appoint the next manager — it's not my job — and whoever it is I'm going to play and give it 100%," Pulisic said. "Everything that happened with Gregg, first of all, has been handled in an extremely childish manner. I think we've seen what's been going on. I think it's childish, it's youth soccer, people complaining about playing time. I don't want to go too far into that, but I think Gregg has been extremely unfortunate to get into the position he is now."

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Berhalter's contract expired on Dec. 31, but he remains eligible to coach the team after an independent investigation into allegations of domestic violence against him really only served to shed light on how Danielle and Claudio Reyna attempted to coerce U.S. Soccer officials into treating their son, Gio, more favorably.

However, USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone previously outlined the process for naming the next USMNT manager and that's still contingent on first naming a next sporting director. That sporting director will ultimately decide the next head coach, and the proposed timeline calls for that happening by the end of summer.

The USMNT closes out Nations League group-stage play later this month (the 24-man roster, with Pulisic included, was revealed Wednesday) with interim boss Anthony Hudson in charge, and he's set to guide the team at both the Nations League finals and Gold Cup. 

"Do I feel like we should just wait and wait? I don't think it's necessary, because we are not in a phase like we were after not qualifying where we needed a complete rebuild," Pulisic said. "We don't need a bunch of new guys coming in. We have a strong core in my opinion — people have seen that and we need to carry on with that. It's a tough one for me because we should continue that as soon as we can and build off this World Cup, which I think had a lot of positives in it. We want to get going with that as soon as we can."

The U.S. travels to Grenada on Mar. 24 before hosting El Salvador in Orlando on Mar. 27. The federation also confirmed a "Continental Clásico" against Mexico on Apr. 19 in Glendale, Ariz.

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