Christian Pulisic is originally from Hershey, Pennsylvania where his parents, Mark and Kelley Pulisic, provided a family support system that would help propel his soccer career. Before Dortmund and Chelsea, Mark and Kelley laid the groundwork for success. Christian is a Croatian-American whose grandfather, Mate Pulisic, was born on the island of Olib in Croatia.
Christian’s dad, Mark, had his own career as a pro soccer player. Mark played indoor soccer for the Harrisburg Heat before getting his coaching license while he was still a player as The Guardian detailed.
Soccer had been a given for the New York native as the son of a Hajduk Split-supporting man from a small island in Croatia. Mark had even retraced his father’s footsteps to the former Yugoslavia, then at war, in pursuit of his soccer dream only to be chased home amid the din of military choppers and fighter jets overhead. So he carved out a successful career with the Harrisburg Heat as a prolific penalty box poacher, with a coaching inclination quickly following. He earned his coaching licenses, putting them to work at a low-level college while still a player.
Christian’s Mom, Kelley, Played Soccer at George Mason University
Christian does not just get his athletic skills from his dad. Christian’s mom, Kelley, also played soccer at George Mason, per the18.com. Chelsea recently posted a video of Christian kicking the soccer ball with his mom. Kelley showed off her dribbling skills and Christian had the perfect caption.
“And y’all thought I got it from my dad,” Christian noted on the video.
Kelley’s former coach Hank Leung described her game to George Mason athletics.
“Kelley was an outstanding player for us,” Leung told George Mason. “I was really pleased we could get her. It was very rare we got an outstanding player who was a local player. That was a huge plus. She was one of my captains and someone you could always count on to get everything done. Anything that needed to be done on and off the field. She was terrific in that sense.”
According to George Mason athletics, both parents graduated from the university with degrees in physical education. Mark was inducted into the George Mason Men’s Soccer Hall of Fame for his career as a forward with the team.
Christian’s Dad, Mark, Originally Moved to Germany While His Son Played for Dortmund
When Christian initially joined Dortmund in the Bundesliga, Mark moved to Germany to be with his son. Eventually, Christian’s dad believed it was time for his son to be on his own, and Mark wanted to get back into coaching.
“I wanted to get back into coaching, 100%,” Mark explained to The Guaradian. “I knew that once Christian was ready to be there [in Germany] alone that I would have the opportunity to get back into coaching, something I love. In any capacity.”
Christian will now move to England where he will play for Chelsea in the Premier League. Mark is an assistant soccer coach for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and hosts his own podcast called Soccer Unplugged.