Without ever having played an official game at UCLA U.S. WNT star Mallory Pugh has decided to turn pro with Sport’s Illustrated’s Grant Wahl reporting that Pugh has signed with agent Richard Motzkin and will be meeting soon with Adidas and Nike.
“This decision was certainly not easy for me to make,” Pugh said in a statement on the UCLA website. “UCLA is such a special place, and being a Bruin was an incredible thing. UCLA Soccer brought amazing things to my life, and chasing after a national championship with my friends and teammates would’ve been special, but I could not turn down this opportunity. I want to thank my teammates, coaches, UCLA Athletics, and everyone else for the support I have behind me. I may have been here for a short time, but UCLA will always have a special place in my heart, and I will always be a Bruin.”
The 18-year-old attacker, who has already represented her country at the 2016 Olympics, previously flirted with signing on with the Portland Thorns before enrolling at UCLA in January. Pugh was expected to line out with the Bruins this fall but has instead elected to join the paid ranks.
The question is, what next for this dynamic young talent?
The Washington Spirit own the NWSL allocation rights to Pugh, having acquired those rights from Portland as part of the trade for Ali Krieger but Wahl has reported that Pugh has no interest in playing for the Spirit.
No big surprise there with the Spirit a club in disarray after an offseason that saw Crystal Dunn join Krieger as just two stars to depart from the 2016 NWSL runners-up in the offseason. Washington could trade Pugh’s rights Portland or another NWSL team or Pugh could join the U.S. WNT European exodus spearheaded by Dunn (Chelsea), Alex Morgan (Lyon), and Carli Lloyd (Manchester City).
SI pinpoints French clubs Lyon and PSG as possible landing spots for the gifted teenager.