Mallory Pugh, the forward for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, is the youngest player to make her debut in the last 11 years. Pugh was named the 2015 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year. She was voted as the 2017 Washington Spirit Most Valuable Player. In 2018, Pugh scored six goals in 13 appearances for the USWNT senior squad, including a brace against Denmark in January. The explosive and creative attacker has endorsement deals with Nike, Gatorade and Neutrogena. The fact she was able to skip college and turn professional after high school is an example of how the growth of women’s soccer is providing opportunities for female players that previously didn’t exist.
I was very excited to shoot Mallory for her feature in Colorado Health & Wellness Magazine. Due to how busy Pugh is with soccer, we had a very tight timeline for this photoshoot. I went to meet with Mallory at six in the morning before her practice began. I had a great time watching her showboat some of her favorite tricks. I was very impressed with her incredible ability to use one foot to scoot the ball up her leg, then kick it with her opposite heel so that it propels the ball forward, and arcs neatly over her head. I was told that this flashy move is called the “rainbow flick” (pictured below). Talking with Mallory and getting insight into her passion and commitment to soccer was very inspiring, and I learned that she will do absolutely anything to fulfill her dreams. I look forward to watching Mallory Pugh in the 2019 Women’s World Cup.