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My name is Jeremy Tillman, I am excited to share my insights as an entrepreneur, husband & Christ follower. My Morning Reflections are a collection of thoughts, ideas, philosophies, and principles in which I live my everyday life.

Turning doubt and stereotypes into motivation - Chelsea's Pulisic and the naysayers!

By Jeremy Tillman Aug 31, 2019
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“American…”

                                   “Worthless…”

         “Useless…”

Gosh! The expectations, stupid stereotypes and insults I heard towards footballer (aka Soccer player), Christian Pulisic…

Pulisic... Dude! I hope this motivates you because it motivates the hell out of me...

I’m in London for meetings and decided to attend my first premier league match.  So, there I was watching Sheffield United take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge stadium.  I must admit I've been to London at least 15 times and hadn’t attended a match.  My motivation this time around was Pulisic, plain and simple.  He's the “American” wiz kid that came over to play soccer with the “big boys” in Borussia Dortmund’s youth program.

Man, I went all out! Not only did I buy and proudly wore my Pulisic jersey, I even bought my 3-year-old son some Chelsea outfits. 

Truth be told, I'm invested in all sorts of ways in Pulisic as I’m the proud owner of a hefty collection of some of his best Soccer cards, courtesy of Panini America.  But what I like most about Pulisic is he's defying the odds. He’s an underdog story and I'm all about that.  

As an entrepreneur, doubt has always motivated me.  As an African American, I’m used to being stereotyped.  As a kid, teachers' doubts were my motivation.  I even had to overcome stereotypes and naysayers from within my own community.  I'm a tall athletically built black man who's visited nearly 30 countries. And in at least 25 of them, I was asked if I played sports because what African American can afford to visit places such as Venice, St. Moritz, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Edinburgh, Whistler, Innsbruck and Rio, just to name a few. Needless to say, I’m used to it…

What's sad is I had to come all the way “across the pond” to be reminded that stereotypes aren’t a black or white thing… No, they stem from one’s own self pride, insecurities and fears.  Pulisic is white as white can be, but here in Europe futeball is on par with God and, on this day, Pulisic didn’t play like one. So, though I was surrounded by Chelsea loyalists, I heard more negative things hurled at Pulisic than positive. “Useless, worthless, American…”  I wasn’t prepared for that.

Christian, just keep your eyes focused on the ball and do your thing!

I get the stereotypes that Americans can't play soccer.  But let's not forget our women's team is dominating! I know American men's soccer is lagging. I know everyone wants instant results, and I know those same naysayers will be Chanting Pul-i-sic, Pul-i-sic, Pul-i-sic as soon as a few goals start dropping. Until then, stay motivated my friend. I know I am. 

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