In Mallory Pugh's Own Words: "I'm Coming To Win"
"All my life, to the best of my ability, I've just wanted to watch football, practise football, play football—be around football. Things finally started to get serious in 2017, when I found myself with a big decision to make.
I'll set the scene: I'm 18 years old, at UCLA on a football scholarship. In other words, I'm doing everything you're supposed to do as a US footballer. You go to football camps, you work hard, you get a university scholarship, and then, after you graduate, you go pro. Simple, right? OK, maybe not so simple. But that's the order of things: You start from Point A. Then, if you're good enough, you get to move to Point B.
And then I remember going to bed this one night. I was feeling all sorts of anxious, so before I fell asleep, I prayed. And I just asked whoever is up there, you know, "When I wake up tomorrow morning, can you please … can you give me a sign? Can I know what's right? Can I know what I want to do?" And I went to bed that night, and I had a dream.
It was me, by myself, in this dark room. But then all of a sudden, there were these little lights. These little lights that just sort of appeared, and then formed this one really big light. It was total nonsense—please don't laugh at my dream. But in the strangest way, I swear—that nonsense dream? It actually showed me what I needed to do. Like, by my own weird dream logic, I somehow woke up feeling like I knew what it was trying to say to me. I called my family that same morning to tell them I'd made my decision: I was leaving school. I wanted to go pro.
'We know', my dad said, 'we're proud of you'.
I have a goal now. It's for this year, for this tournament and beyond: I want to be the best at everything I do. Mia Hamm was one of my biggest heroes growing up, so I'm hoping that I can make a statement this summer.
But at the same time, let's also be honest—I'm still only 20 years old. And no matter how tough I talk, or how confident I seem about my goals for the world championship and whatever comes after … there's this part of me who's still just going to be that O.G. Mal: learning as she goes, and picking up a few scars along the way. That football rat who doesn't do it for ambition, or recognition or even the desire to be the best … but rather because, straight up, she just has more energy, and more spirit and more love for the game than she'll ever know what to do with. And she has to let it out.
So thanks for reading my story—I'll see y'all in France. Mallory Pugh is coming to win".
Dream With Us
Dream with Mallory and the entire US Women's National Team during this summer's world championship tournament in their latest gear.