Premium: Coming Full Circle
As kids, Haji Wright and Christian Pulisic always thought they'd play together on the USMNT. It took years longer than expected, but they finally did in a special moment against Morocco.
CINCINNATI — All superstar athletes have someone. That person they grew up with, the player they thought was a can’t-miss prospect, who missed. You never knew entirely why. Sometimes the reasons were situational, or bad choices, or a failure to keep improving, or injuries, or just plain old bad luck. But superstars never forget that teammate or opponent from long ago who should have made it big but never did.
For a few years, it looked like that person for Christian Pulisic was Haji Wright. Eight years ago, when they played on the U.S. Under-17 national team together, it was Wright who was the more coveted future star—a strapping and prolific striker—and Pulisic who was the undersized but still creative midfielder. “That was the duo back in the day, me and Haji,” Pulisic said with a smile this week. “We played a lot of games together in the youth national teams.”