Well, that didn’t take long. After playing in just three spring games for the Bruins, Mallory Pugh is leaving UCLA to pursue professional opportunities.
The 18-year-old Pugh enrolled in the 2017 Winter quarter. She was scheduled to take the pitch for the Bruins this fall for her freshman season.
“This decision was certainly not easy for me to make,” Pugh said in a statement released by the school. “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.”
Pugh starts at forward for the U.S. Women’s National Team, and has amassed 22 caps with five goals and three assists. She debuted at 17 years, 269 days old, scoring a goal in her first game. A native of Highlands Ranch, Colo., she was a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic team.
“We are sad to see Mal depart UCLA, but it’s exciting for her to have such a unique opportunity,” said UCLA head coach Amanda Cromwell. “Our relationship with Mal started a long time ago in the recruiting process. We’ve seen her develop and grow into an amazing young woman and player. Mal will always be a Bruin, and we have no doubt that she is destined for great things as her career progresses.”