USWNT’s Mallory Pugh leaves UCLA to pursue professional career

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Mallory Pugh never actually played a game at UCLA because the U.S. Women’s National Team forward has bigger sights on her agenda.

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The 18-year-old announced on Tuesday that she will forgo her collegiate career at the Pac-12 school in order to pursue her professional career.

“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,” Pugh said in a statement.

The next step in her career is unknown at the moment, with the NWSL and foreign leagues both sound options at this stage.

The Washington Spirit currently hold the top spot in the NWSL’s allocation order, essentially making the club a prime suspect to claim Pugh if she pursues a domestic career. However, France is also seen as a top option for the youngster, including European powerhouses Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon, with both clubs having boasted USWNT talent both currently and in the past.

Pugh has become a household name with Jill Ellis’ USWNT since earning her first cap in 2016. Since then, the teenager has played in 22 matches with the Stars and Stripes and has scored four goals in the process.