In his latest blog for the official Chelsea website, Stephen Rea explains why the excitement over Christian Pulisic is building even more in the States and how he's been juggling family time with keeping up with the Blues' pre-season campaign...
It has been a standout week here in the USA for us Chelsea supporters. It may only have been a friendly against RB Salzburg, but Christian’s Pulisic’s first goal (two, in fact) for the Blues marks an important milestone.
Around the rest of the world his brace was perhaps overshadowed by Pedro’s sublime back-heel finish, but the American midfielder getting on the scoresheet for the first time was big news on this side of the Atlantic. And it wasn’t only those who follow the Londoners who cared, as fans of our Premier League rivals contacted me asking how he had played.
I saw the highlights but I missed watching both goals live. I had a good excuse - it was my daughter’s birthday.
I spent the afternoon hopping between seats in a small New Orleans amusement park, as I dodged around the site chasing the shade. The temperature hovers around a brutal 32 degrees here in the summer and the humidity often nudges 90 percent. The quartet of 12-year-old girls circuited the rides while I followed updates from Austria via The 5th Stand app.
Chelsea defeated Arsenal to win the Europa League in Baku on May 29, and kicked off the pre-season campaign in Dublin against Bohemians on July 10. That’s a gap of only six weeks, so the chances are that sometime this year, wanting to see a match has collided with a family or social event.
When it happens there is no formula, no table you can look up, no matrix to consult. You weigh up the importance of the gathering against how vital the fixture is, and you make the choice. You decide to watch the Blues, or maybe to skip the game, perhaps to catch a half of action which allows you to still make the get together.
On Wednesday it was my only child’s birthday, versus a friendly 11 days before our first competitive match. I wouldn’t be much of a father if I had prioritised the game over my daughter.
And it turns out that she will be at a friend’s house on Saturday when we take on Borussia Monchengladbach, a clash that will be broadcast by a US sports channel. Now isn’t that a slice of luck…