5 Attributes that Make Mallory Pugh The Most Exciting US Soccer Prospect Ever
You may not have heard of Mallory Pugh just yet, but there's no doubting the fact that she is set to become a global phenomenon in the coming years.
Voted as the 2015 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year, and the Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year, there is something truly special about Pugh that all players, coaches, and fans of the game should take notice of.
Let's look at 5 attributes that make her so exciting.
1. Technical Ability Beyond her Years
Mallory Pugh's ability is a dream come true for all U.S. soccer fans that have been clamoring for better technical players that can equal their European, Central and South American counterparts.
At just 18 years of age, Pugh has already achieved the same level of technicality as most of the senior USWNT players. This is truly remarkable for a player of such a young age.
She is two-footed, comfortable playing the ball with all surfaces of her foot, head, or chest, she can operate efficiently in the tightest of spaces, and has a silky first touch that stands out amongst the players that have come through our youth programs, men's or women's for that matter.
2. Pace and a Low Center Of Gravity
Coaches, fans, and other players often compare current players with established stars of the past and present, and it's hard not to think of Lionel Messi when you watch Mallory Pugh play the game.
The diminutive Pugh has a similar low-center of gravity that make her on field movements and actions eerily similar to the all-time great, and her bursts of acceleration and pace only further the connection between the Barcelona star and this young teenager from Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
This is not an association to be taken lightly, but it is quite frankly a valid comparison.
3. Game Intelligence
Teachers of the game spend endless minutes, hours, and years trying to cultivate game intelligence in their players, and when you look at Mallory Pugh, you can't help but feel like the USWNT has found a truly remarkable talent.
The way Pugh reads the game, knowing when and where to take players on 1v1, when to hold her run, when to lay the ball off and move into space to combine, the vision to see where a first time ball should and can be played, her ability to thread the needle, to make strong challenges, or funnel her opponents into a trap, all these insights that take years to develop in most players seem to already be present in Pugh's play.
It is amazing to watch, considering that she has just barely been on the planet for 18 years, and already knows so much about how to play the game.
4. Finishing Ability
Pugh can score goals, at any and every level, there's no doubt that she will be assisting and scoring this summer in Rio, and her proficiency in front of net has drawn comparisons to the great Mia Hamm. Mallory Pugh is going to be a lot better than Mia Hamm.
No disrespect intended to the best No. 9 ever to put on the uniform for the stars and stripes, but Pugh has an instinct around goal, with both feet, that indicate we are witnessing the birth of an unparalleled global superstar.
The U.S. soccer community has been foaming at the mouth, wailing in derision, wishing with the greatest of faith and hope that we can see the birth of a creative No. 10 for our Country, a true technician, a player with the vision, ability, and intelligence of a Ronaldinho, Riqulme, Deco, James Rodriguez, or the like.
Not many assumed that the first "Messi" to come out of the American Soccer system would be an 18 year old girl from the Centennial State.
Mark these words, there is something special about Mallory Pugh, she's one of those outliers that is so good she needs to play with people twice her age, and even then, they can hardly keep up with her. She has the technical ability, she has the pace, she has the trickery, she has the intelligence, she has all that and more, because she couples those athletic traits with great humility, personality, and uniqueness.
Mallory Pugh has the X-Factor and is destined to become the greatest soccer player the United States has ever seen.