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Washington Spirit acquire USWNT star Mallory Pugh

23:14 GMT+3 13/05/2017
Mallory Pugh USWNT Friendly 06022016
One of U.S. Soccer's brightest young stars will begin her professional career in Washington, where she will become one of the faces of the NWSL

The Washington Spirit have announced they have acquired U.S. women’s national team forward Mallory Pugh by using their number one spot in the NWSL distribution ranking order.

Pugh, 19, announced she was leaving UCLA last month and her future had been up in the air since making her decision public. 

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The Colorado native received strong interest from abroad and reportedly balked at the chance to play in Washington, but the NWSL side has now reached an agreement to sign one of American soccer's most promising talents. 

“This is a monumental moment for our club and the NWSL,” Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra said in a news release. “We are extremely humbled and grateful for the opportunity to develop such a talented player. We look forward to having Mallory join the Spirit family.”

Pugh received her first senior national team call-up in January 2016 at age 17. She has gone on to make 22 appearances for Jill Elllis' side, scoring four goals.

“I am very excited to begin my career in the NWSL and with the Washington Spirit,” said Pugh. “Being part of a professional team will allow me to grow and develop as a player, and I look forward to helping the Spirit win championships.”

"We are thrilled with the addition of Mallory Pugh to the NWSL and excited to have her join the Washington Spirit," NWSL Managing director of operations Amanda Duffy said in a league press release. "Mallory's a dynamic talent and one of the top young players in the world. We look forward to her continued development at the club and international levels in the years to come."

The Spirit have picked up just one win in their first four matches of the NWSL season and are in action Saturday against the Seattle Reign, though Pugh will not be involved.