After a long wait, the much anticipated destination for USWNT star Mallory Pugh has finally been announced. Pugh will join the Washington Spirit this week ahead of their match with FC Kansas City.
The Spirit used their number one spot in the allocation order to pick up Pugh. With rumors of Pugh wanting to play for the Portland Thorns, many expected a trade to come about. However, after a meeting with head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra and owner Bill Lynch, Pugh will come to Washington.
Pugh, a 19-year-old Colorado native, left UCLA after less than a year to play professionally. After missing the 2016 UCLA season to play in the Rio Olympics and the U-20 World Cup, Pugh leaves college without playing a single game for the Bruins.
This is a big pickup for Washington. After a rocky offseason that saw players traded and go overseas, the Spirit struggled in the first few games of the season. Last week’s game against Sky Blue saw the offense come to life thanks to the play of Nigerian international Francisca Ordega. Pugh could be just what Washington needs to keep their offensive spirits up.
In 22 appearances for the US women’s national team, Pugh has four goals. Head coach Jill Ellis has tried her at various positions in the attack, but her play on the outside was most impressive. This could really play in well with the system that Gabarra has put in with Washington. The Spirit have struggled to find someone to play in the right outside mid as a wingback. This could be the perfect spot for Pugh.
This will leave an interesting situation in Washington. They currently have four players on the 45-day disabled list, but Caprice Dydasco is eligible to come off of that list as early as today while Cali Farquharson can come back on May 20. Whatever ends up happening, acquiring Pugh is not only a huge boost to the team on the field, but it will also give the Spirit a USWNT star to market to fans.
“This is a monumental moment for our club and the NWSL,” said Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra said in the press release. “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.”
“I am very excited to begin my career in the NWSL and with the Washington Spirit,” said Pugh was also quoted in the press release. “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.”