Add Mallory Pugh’s name to the history books — again.
Five months after becoming the youngest female player to compete in an Olympic qualifying match for U.S. soccer, the striker from Highlands Ranch was selected on Tuesday to the final U.S. Olympic roster, bound for Brazil.
At 18 years, 3 months and 5 days when the Games open, Pugh, a recent Mountain Vista graduate, will be the second-youngest U.S. women’s soccer player in history to compete in the Olympics. Cindy Parlow was only a month younger (18 years, 2 months, 13 days) when she struck gold with the U.S. in 1996.
“I’m super excited and nervous at the same time,” Pugh said, via U.S. Soccer’s website. “When (coach Jill Ellis) called, a bunch of emotions were going through my mind. I was a bit in shock because I know I’ve worked hard and it’s because of my teammates on the National Team, on the U-20s and back at home that have pushed me. I appreciate that from them. I wouldn’t be in the position I am in today without them. I thought, ‘Did that really just happen? Am I going to go to the Olympics?’ I will not only be with amazing athletes on my team, but also on Team USA. It will be so cool to see so many different athletes, find out their journeys and be inspired by them.”
The 2015 Gatorade National Player of the Year and captain of the U-20 U.S. women’s national team, Pugh was called up to the senior National Team in January and earned her first cap and goal against Ireland weeks later. Pugh currently leads the U.S. with seven assists through 13 games, the latest of which came this past Saturday to set up the U.S. team’s lone goal in a 1-0 victory against South Africa in Chicago. Should she score in Rio, Pugh will become the youngest player in history to net a goal for the U.S.
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