BOYDS, MD (via Washington Spirit) – The Washington Spirit has acquired U.S. Women’s National Team forward Mallory Pugh by using its number one spot in the NWSL Distribution Ranking Order.
The Spirit acquired first position in the Distribution Ranking Order via a series of offseason trades, with an eye on a player of Pugh’s quality becoming available as the burgeoning NWSL continues to attract the world’s top talent and fans.
“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.”
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.
In 2015, Pugh was honored as U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year after leading all players at the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship with seven goals. She has been a mainstay in the U.S. Soccer player pool since 2011, when she attended her first identification session and training camp at the U-14 level.
Pugh was named the 2014-2015 Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year after scoring or assisting 36 goals for the season at Class 5A Mountain Vista High School in her hometown of Highlands Ranch, Colorado. She played club soccer in the Elite Clubs National League for Real Colorado, where she helped lead her team to multiple ECNL National Finals berths, including a trip to the 2013 ECNL title match. Pugh’s dominance with Real Colorado helped her earn the honor of 2015 NSCAA Youth Girls National Player of the Year.
With the signing, Washington’s roster now features three official Federation Players and two international players. Pugh joins Canadian federation defender Shelina Zadorsky and goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé, as well as Danish international midfielder Line Sigvardsen Jensen and Nigerian international forward Francisca Ordega.