United States women’s national team forward Mallory Pugh has signed with UCLA, the school announced Wednesday.
Pugh, who is the youngest player in history to make an U.S. Olympic qualifying roster, opted to play with the Bruins over joining the NWSL, despite swirling rumors during the league’s Jan. 15 draft that she would forgo college and sign with the Portland Thorns.
Just one week after the draft, the 17-year-old made her international debut and scored her first goal in a match against Ireland.
The Highlands Ranch, Colo. native joins UCLA’s stacked 2016 recruiting class, which includes Canadian national team midfielder Jessie Fleming, as well as U.S. youth national team players Jacey Pederson, Marley Canales, Kaiya McCullough and Sunny Dunphy. Junior college All-America selection Julia Hernandez will also join the Bruins’ squad in 2016.
UCLA is two seasons removed from its NCAA title in 2013, and one from its national quarterfinal appearance in 2014.
- Kayla Lombardo