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Mallory Pugh made one decision but still faces another choice.
Pugh, the 18-year-old Mountain Vista graduate and member of the U.S. women's Olympic soccer team, announced she is leaving UCLA to pursue professional soccer opportunities.
The unanswered question is which opportunity she will pick.
According to Sports Illustrated, Pugh would like to play for Portland in the National Women's Soccer League but Washington has the top spot in the 10-team NWSL distribution order to claim an incoming player.
Pugh turned down an offer to join Portland before deciding to attend UCLA but deals could be made if she decides to play in the NWSL.
Portland has eight national team players on its roster, including five from the U.S. team.
Teams in France, like Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain, are also reportedly interested in acquiring the services of Pugh if she doesn't play in the NWSL.
SI has reported that Portland has offered a trade for the right to sign Pugh, but apparently Washington isn't listening. The stalemate could be settled at the NWSL owners meeting April 28 in Orlando, Florida.
Pugh enrolled at UCLA for the 2017 winter quarter and played in three spring matches and was set the make her freshman varsity debut this fall.
“The decision was certainly not easy for me to make,” Pugh said in a UCLA news release. “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. I want to thank my teammates, coaches, UCLA athletics and everyone else for the support I have behind me.”
UCLA coach Amanda Cromwell understood it was difficult career decision for Pugh.
“We are sad to see Mal depart UCLA but it's exciting for her to have such a unique opportunity,” said UCLA Cromwell. “Our relationship with Mal started a long time ago in the recruiting process. We've seen here develop and grow into an amazing young women and player. Mal will always be a Bruin and we have no doubt that she is destined for great things as her career progresses.”
Pugh has four goals since she made her national team debut in January 2016 when she was 17.
Pugh played parts of three seasons for Mountain Vista but didn’t play her senior season because of U.S. national soccer team commitments. In 32 games for the Golden Eagles, she tallied 47 goals and 21 assists.
She helped Vista win the state championship as a freshman when she scored 10 goals. She played just 10 games her junior season and didn’t play in the state playoffs but had 24 goals and 60 points.
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