And, just like that the Dynamic Duo UCLA was supposed to have this coming season has been broken up. Bruin fans are left wondering what might have been.
Tonight, UCLA announced that Mal Pugh has decided to leave UCLA and turn pro.
Originally, Pugh was going to start at UCLA in Fall 2016, but she deferred her enrollment to Winter 2017 as she played with the U.S. U-20s in the 2016 World Cup and the USWNT in the Rio Olympics. She enrolled for classes at the start of UCLA’s Winter quarter. During her short stay at UCLA, she played in just three Spring games.
"This decision was certainly not easy for me to make," Pugh said in a release put out by the Athletic Department. "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. I may have been here for a short time, but UCLA will always have a special place in my heart, and I will always be a Bruin."
Bruin soccer fans were certainly waiting for next season when Pugh would team up with Canadian sensation Jessie Fleming. And, now, that will not happen.
It certainly explains why Pugh was absent over the weekend when the UCLA Women’s Soccer team played a Spring game doubleheader in Camarillo where they tied Pepperdine 1-1 and defeated UCSB 2-0.
Grant Wahl is reporting on SI.com that Pugh is signing with Wasserman agent Richard Motzkin. Wahl also mentions that, according to NWSL rules, the Washington Spirit has the first opportunity to sign her, but Wahl also mentions that Washington is not Pugh’s preferred destination.
Wahl also writes:
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.
Good luck to Mallory and Go Bruins!!!