She has been a rising star with the U.S. Women’s National Team as a high schooler, and now Mallory Pugh is turning pro.
The 19-year old has signed with the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League. The Spirit acquired Pugh by being in the first position in the Distribution Ranking Order through a series of offseason trades.
“This is a monumental moment for our club and the NWSL,” said Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra. “We are extremely humbled and grateful for the opportunity to develop such a talented player. We look forward to having Mallory join the Spirit family.”
The signing of Pugh is not only good news for Washington, but also for the NWSL, which has seen several top stars head to high-profile clubs overseas. Those players now playing for clubs in Europe include Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Crystal Dunn and Heather O’Reilly.
Pugh, who turned 19 years old on April 29, has made 22 appearances and scored four goals for the U.S. Women’s National Team since she received her first call-up in January 2016. She became the youngest player in U.S. history to score an Olympic goal while competing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, finding the net in a 2-2 draw against Colombia.
“I am very excited to begin my career in the NWSL and with the Washington Spirit,” said Pugh. “Being part of a professional team will allow me to grow and develop as a player, and I look forward to helping the Spirit win championships.”
During her whirlwind career with the U.S. Youth National Teams, Pugh scored 15 goals in 12 appearances with the U-17 WNT and captained the U.S. team that finished fourth at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea last December. She was also a key player at the 2014 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada at the age of 16, starting all four matches at the tournament. Pugh finished her U-20 international career with 19 goals in 29 caps.