USWNT’s Mallory Pugh signs with NWSL’s Washington Spirit

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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It’s officially official: Mallory Pugh is a professional soccer player.

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Pugh, the U.S. women’s national team’s 19-year-old budding superstar, announced last month that she was leaving UCLA before having played a single game of college soccer, in favor of going pro.

The next three weeks would be full of speculation over where Pugh would play this season. Her preference was the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League, but the Washington Spirit held the no. 1 spot in the NWSL Distribution Ranking Order, meaning they were first in line to acquire Pugh’s services. Paris Saint-Germain was also a possibility, as the French club offered Pugh a contract to head overseas.

In the end, Washington’s big bet paid off — in hopes of this exact scenario playing out, they traded away the majority of their assets during the offseason in order to move into the top spot in the allocation order.

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“This is a monumental moment for our club and the NWSL,” Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra said in a 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. “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.”