Mallory Pugh, the most coveted teenager in U.S. women’s soccer, has decided to turn pro and leave UCLA before she ever played a game there, SI.com first reported on Monday night.
Pugh, an 18-year-old winger, played for the U.S. in the 2016 Olympics. Blessed with speed, vision and finishing ability, she started classes at UCLA in January and was set to start playing there this fall. But now Pugh has decided to take her talents to the pros.
Multiple sources told SI.com that Pugh was set to sign with Wasserman agent Richard Motzkin. She is planning to meet soon with Nike and Adidas, who will be in heated competition to get Pugh’s signature.
According to NWSL rules, the Washington Spirit has the first crack at Pugh through the league’s allocation process. But SI.com has learned that Washington is not a preferred destination for Pugh.
Three sources close to the situation told SI.com that Portland was one of Pugh’s preferred destinations in the NWSL. But multiple sources said that destinations in France, including Lyon and PSG, were also in play if Pugh was not satisfied with what the NWSL was willing to offer.