Pugh turns down pro deal, will join UCLA

by Travis Clark
January 20, 2016

Looks like Mallory Pugh is heading to the college ranks after all.

The No. 1 girls recruit for the class of 2016, reports surfaced last week that the Colorado star would bypass her collegiate career to join Portland Thorns in the NWSL. The Denver Post reported on Wednesday that she will in fact play college soccer this fall for UCLA.

"We did look at her possibly going pro," her father Horace Pugh told The Denver Post. "It's all over the Internet she's going to play professionally. It was very close to happening, but her gut feeling was that she wanted to go to college."

Speculation began during last Friday's NWSL Draft that Pugh would join the Thorns via a new Player Allocation process announced at the start of the draft, as later reported by Soccerwire.com. A source confirmed to TopDrawerSoccer.com that if Pugh signed a contract, she would've been sent to Portland after the team acquired the top spot in the allocation order in a trade with the Boston Breakers.

However, she ultimately decided to go the college route and will sign her National Letter of Intent to play at UCLA on February 3. The forward is currently in camp with the full U.S. women's national team ahead of its friendly against the Republic of Ireland on January 23 in San Diego.

Pugh is part of a stellar Bruin recruiting class for 2016, which includes Marley Canales, Jessie Fleming, Sunny Dunphy, Jacey Pederson and Kaiya McCullough.

Related Topics: Pacific 12
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