LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — Soccer fans flooded into The Sandwich Factory in Manheim Township on Tuesday to watch a local legend take center stage once again, this time in a must-win matchup with Iran.
Pennsylvania Classics President Doug Harris lit up at the mention of Hershey native and U.S. Soccer phenom Christian Pulisic. Now a world-renowned star, Pulisic played for the Pa. Classics club for five years, joining the team at eight years old.
"It's surreal," Harris said. "We're a very small part of it, obviously. I think what we did at PA Classics is to put together a vehicle that could allow Christian to continue to develop but make no mistake, this was Christian's dream."
Pulisic leading the U.S. team with his tenacity and skill is giving an extra boost to the new generation of PA Classics players. Young fans are hoping to follow in his footsteps.
"It shows that there's a step outside of Pennsylvania, that I can make it one day," Ava Firth, a current PA Classics player from York.
"It's just amazing to see how the U.S. is growing in sports and soccer," added Ian Tillman of Lititz.
Pulisic made the most of the moment, knocking home a cross in the thirty-eighth minute for his first World Cup goal. The score had the fans cheering, then holding their breath.
"I was really excited at first, but then I saw him a little injured inside the goal," said Lauran Tillman from Lititz. "I was nervous about that, but it was very exciting to see the goal, for sure."
Pulisic had to be helped from the field but would return to finish the game. His goal would prove to be enough, lifting Team USA to victory.
Fans hope the U.S. team can continue its winning ways.
"Let's just keep going. Right?" Tillman added. "As far as we can."
Moving forward, Team USA moves to the round of 16 and a big matchup with the Netherlands on Saturday morning.
The fans are confident the team will continue to push forward, propelled by a hometown hero.