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Global Mar 22, 2016

Richmond product Will Pulisic set to join cousin at Borussia Dortmund

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The Pulisic name continues to grow in prominence, both at home and abroad.

U.S. youth international William Pulisic announced on Monday via Twitter that he will join his cousin Christian Pulisic at German club Borussia Dortmund for the 2016-17 season, postponing his plans to join the men’s soccer program at Duke University this fall.

A native of Mechanicsville, Virginia who rose through the ranks at Richmond Strikers, then Richmond United, William served as the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team for most of the cycle leading up to last year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup. He previously spent time in U.S. Soccer’s Bradenton Residency Program in Florida and has also played for the U.S. U-19 squad.

Christian Pulisic (who hails from Hershey, Pennsylvania) left Bradenton to join Dortmund in 2014 and steadily worked his way up the Bundesliga club’s ranks, turning heads on both sides of the Atlantic when he made his senior-team league debut in January, the youngest American ever to do so.

The two cousins have become fast friends in their time together on the youth national teams, and were profiled by during the U-17 World Cup.

[player_box id=49331 leftright=right]Will’s time with Dortmund will likely be spent primarily with the club’s youth squads, and does not necessarily impact his NCAA eligibility; only by signing a professional contract does he lose his amateur status. But like his cousin, he has access to a Croatian passport via his family heritage, and thus would likely qualify for European Union work-permit status should Dortmund or another pro club attempt to woo him.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound ‘keeper signed a National Letter of Intent with Duke in February, with Blue Devils coach John Kerr calling him “the full package … a great shot-stopper, reads and communicates the game well. … [with] great presence and exceptional distribution.”

SoccerAmerica notes that William is the sixth standout from the current U.S. U-17 crop to join a major European club, following Matthew Olosunde (Manchester United), Joshua Perez (Fiorentina), Danny Barbir (West Bromwich Albion), Luca de la Torre (Fulham) and Christian Pulisic, while Haji Wright is expected to sign with Germany’s Schalke 04 when he turns 18.

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