You’ve probably heard by now that Mallory Pugh, the youngest member of the USWNT roster at the 2016 Olympics, is just 18 years old.
But Pugh has apparently known she was destined for greatness since way before everyone else, because she was already visualizing this moment in sixth grade.
Sixth grade, eleven years old - approximately seven years ago, Pugh would have just seen the 2008 Olympics, when the United States beat Brazil to take the gold medal. Whatever seed that planted in her mind took root and grew into the Pugh we know today, a speedy, confident wide player who can switch left or right and isn’t afraid to take on players 10 years her senior.
She’s already gotten her first Olympic start, playing in the team’s 2-0 win against New Zealand, and if she looked a little out of it in that game, she shook it off to dig deeper into the 2-2 tie against Colombia.
Pugh is currently committed to start at UCLA in the spring, but rumors persist that she’ll turn pro and jump into NWSL, especially after she was supposed to join the Portland Thorns for 2016.
The draft is still months away and in the meantime there’s an Olympic tournament to win. Pugh will almost certainly see time in the knockout rounds as she seems to be one of Ellis’ favored options on the left, especially with Megan Rapinoe still working her way back to full fitness, and her versatility allows her to interchange in the attack as needed.
The United States will face Sweden on Friday, August 12 at 12 PM ET on NBCSN.