Pugh’s dad says Mallory won’t go pro, will go to UCLA

Jeff Kassouf January 20, 2016 318
Mallory Pugh will not turn professional in the NWSL with Portland Thorns FC, according to her father, who says Pugh will attend UCLA in the fall. (Photo: CONCACAF)

Mallory Pugh will not turn professional in the NWSL with Portland Thorns FC, according to her father, who says Pugh will attend UCLA in the fall. (Photo: CONCACAF)

Mallory Pugh will not skip college for the National Women’s Soccer League, her father says.

In an interview with the Denver Post, Horace Pugh admits that his 17-year-old daughter thought about turning professional and foregoing her college eligibility, but ultimately decided to attend UCLA as planned.

“We did look at her possibly going pro,” Horace Pugh told The Denver Post. “It’s all over the Internet she’s going to play professionally. It was very close to happening, but her gut feeling was that she wanted to go to college.”

On Friday, the NWSL announced a new rankings system to fairly distribute allocated players. Portland Thorns FC then traded the No. 3 pick in the draft to the Boston Breakers to move up to No. 1 in the rankings selection. Almost immediately after doing so, it was reported that Pugh had decided to skip college and turn professional to play for Portland. Lindsey Horan, now a member of the Thorns, is the only female U.S. player to have done so when she skipped out on a scholarship to North Carolina to sign with PSG in 2012. No player has ever skipped college to go straight to the NWSL.

[LAULETTA: Making sense of a wild 2016 NWSL Draft  |  Full Draft coverage]

Horace Pugh’s comments to the Denver Post sound pretty definitive. But a source with knowledge of the situation tells The Equalizer that as of last week, it was a “done deal” that Pugh would turn professional. That is ultimately why Portland traded up in the allocation rankings process — to get Pugh. It’s unclear what, but based on the surprise from folks around the league, but something changed in the past few days.

“People made speculation out of Portland getting rid of this draft pick to be in the position to take the first allocated player, who would have been Mallory,” Horace Pugh told the Denver Post. “People in the industry put two and two together, but nothing formally was out there. We never talked to (Portland) coaches, general manger, organization or anyone.”

Even if there wasn’t direct contact with Portland, U.S. Soccer would have been the ones signing paying Pugh — not Portland — as a subsidized player. SoccerWire.com’s Charles Boehm reports that compensation for Pugh would have been in the range of $200,000, with Nike and U.S. Soccer sharing the bill.

Regardless of Pugh’s decision, the Thorns remain atop the new allocation rankings, meaning they have first rights to any newly allocated national team player or any player which gets dropped from her country’s allocation system but remains in the league on a standard player contract.

As a 16-year-old in 2014, Pugh played in all four matches for the U.S. at the U-20 World Cup. She scored seven goals and four assists in five games at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in December, captaining the U.S. team to the title. She is the 2014-15 Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year. She is currently in her first official camp with the U.S. senior team and could make her senior international debut on Saturday against Ireland if selected for the team.

  • john eric

    Father made the right call.

    • rufan

      Or maybe being forced to make the call.

      • Steglitz49

        Hear hear!

  • kernel_thai

    First, its the right decision…it’s not like there was a multi million dollar contract waiting for her.

    Second, no matter what Mr Pugh says, the notion that Pugh would only play in Portland because she had relatives there didnt come from media speculation.

    Personally I think the USSF and Gulati finally figured out what an awful precedent it set for the Fed to pay a player so she could skip college.

    • guest

      damage control will be in full force from everyone now. pure comedy.

      • guest

        everyone will be covering their tracks now.

    • Rufan

      Maybe your are right about USSF. I had asked on another thread after the Pugh story broke, why the change in USSF’s historical policy or philosophy of giving contracts to players only once they finish college play? Maybe they decided not to change it. If they did it for Pugh, the next college player that makes it on the team would begin talking of leaving college early and want a contract. The college coaches would not be happy.

      • Guest

        I don’t think anyone(League owners or the USSF) really cares about what the College coaches would or would not be happy with. From her dad’s quote it sounds like she didn’t think she was ready but your USSF idea is plausible. Any player who wants to skip college though will either have to go abroad or be allocated in order for it to make sense to forego a scholarship.

        • guest

          NCAA schools and those college coaches provide and train most of the players that play for NWSL and USSF
          – so disagree that NWSL/USSF does not care

          • Guest

            For the next Alex Morgan, I would bet the NWSL teams(who could afford it) and the USSF would happily develop her without the NCAA if they were allowed.

          • Steglitz49

            But Alex went to Berkely, one of the world’s very best universities in CA only topped by Stanford. The Cardinal is the Alma Mater of many a fine lady in sports, not just WoSo.

          • Guest

            True but is it so hard to believe that the USSF maybe is in a hurry to get her replacement on the assembly line?

          • Steglitz49

            Indeed. But they tried Christen Annemarie who is older than Alex.

            There are a bunch starting to come up, not just Ms Pugh but there is an Ashley Sanchez though she too is abit on the young side.

            Maybe Lindsey Horan will be a revelation in the NT?

          • Ethan

            I can’t wait to see Sanchez terrorize top-level defenses on the left wing. From what I’ve seen of Sanchez and what I’ve seen of Pugh (especially in that 2014-2015 Gatoride High School Player of the Year video), they both seem best suited for wing forward or second striker/CAM positions. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think they can play centrally; they have had notable success at youth levels there. However, I just like the idea of Sanchez and Pugh on the wings and/or in a central attacking role with another player in the central striker role. (I’m not thinking about Horan for that central striker role, but maybe she’ll work out. Scarpa seems to have some potential.) It will be interesting to see how things turn out.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. The great thing is that new young players come up and keeps WoSo in tip-top shape. It is even better that all walks of US life get represented at NT level. (Sanchez takes over ARod’s mantle, so to type.) Maybe one day there will be a multigenerational homegrown Kawasaki or Yamaguchi stepping out for the USWNT.

            In addition, lets trust that the standard of the top 16 WNT in the world remains respectable. It would be an awful pity if the final always were to be contested by the US vs one of 3-4 other nations, the US winning 4-1 or 8-1.

          • kernel_thai

            Im not sure the USSF considers the NWSL their assembly line. If they want to fast track Pugh on the senior team to get her exposure they can do that regardless of her college decision.

          • Lorehead

            Multiple sources have said that the USSF pressured the women on the NT to play here, not in Europe.

          • Steglitz49

            That was to get the NWSL into orbit. Imagine the impact of the best US players playing abroad. The new league not being able to get the best of the crop.

            That is another reason why it was vital for WoSo for the US to win WC-15 because had they lost, the cat o’nine tails for the NWSL would have been toothless.

      • Guest

        They’ve had college players on the NT before. Even taken them to the Olympics. One is currently on the team years later. They can keep her in camps and take her to Rio if they want to. They’ve done it before.

        • Rufan

          Yes, but the college kids in the past never talked of going pro early.

      • kernel_thai

        The worst part of this was everyone running toward the cliff in the dark absolutely no reason. What was the rush? Is Pugh going to UCLA for the Spring semester? No, she starts next fall. Is the NWSL kicking off tomorrow? Nope, not until April. There plenty of time to dot all the i’s and cross the t’s if theyd just let this play out naturally instead of trying to force it to happen at the draft.

    • guest

      maybe the portland relative line came from the ussf. not exactly a vote of confidence for boston.

      • kevin

        we might need a congressional investigation to find out who was the source of the portland relative line. lol

        • HOFCToDi

          Who is the modern day Woodward and Bernstein?

          Did Merritt Paulson erase fifteen minutes of tape?

          • Constant Weeder

            What’s the Twitter equivalent of (actually)18 minutes of tape?

          • Lorehead

            Well, there was the mysterious tweet that Paulson asked reporter Jamie Goldberg to delete, and she did?

          • kevin

            maybe bill o’reilly and geraldo rivera? lol
            is there anyway jurgen klinsmann could get fired over this? lol
            “it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup” lol

        • Siri

          “Mystery Relative” may not be such a mystery. Her sister graduated from University of Oregon in 2015

  • Rdalford

    Jeff, I know final text of USI rule is not yet posted to NWSL site but could you find out – if team were player to dropped from allocation is currently playing would still have first change to sign the player?
    and only if they “relinquished” the right to sign the player would player become USI?

    RE “Regardless of Pugh’s decision, the Thorns remain atop the new allocation rankings, meaning they have first rights to any newly allocated national team player or any player which gets dropped from her country’s allocation system but remains in the league on a standard player contract.”

    NWSL article re USI includes this statement “In addition, a Subsidized Player whose rights have been relinquished by their current Team will also be designated as a USI.”

    • Vladlagg

      Great question.

  • Rdalford

    Good decision by Pugh family to let Mallory get the UCLA education and NCAA soccer experience, both will serve her well in the future.

    • Steglitz49

      The Pugh family should never have gotten involved in this caper.

      The Horans handled their situation with aplomb.

      • Miguel Najdorf

        Because every other family with a star player has perfect wisdom and experience and would never have considered skipping college for a pro contract.

        LOL, everyone acting like they know what it’s like, being courted by the top colleges and USSF and seen all the information that’s been given to the family.

        • Steglitz49

          Granted Lindsey was only courted by the Emir but he could offer Paris.

          I guess Lindsey and he family may have been vary about a foreign caper and sought top advise. Thus, a (more than) decent deal was struck.

          • Guest

            Horan spent a year deciding what to do, training with clubs overseas, before she did it. Pugh seems to have been rushed by a number of influencers.

  • ARED

    Oh US Soccer, you never fail to amuse….

  • Diane (DeeG)

    If Pugh only talked to USSF and not Portland, as father says, how did that influence rule change and trade with Boston? This is bordering on insider trading. Wrong on all fronts. This information changed the draft.

    • ARED

      Insider trading, or perhaps more of a planned market!

      (see also: Alex Morgan).

      • guest

        just what ussf needs… another lawsuit.

    • HOFCToDi

      Merritt Paulson ordered a break-in at USSF headquarters. What did Merritt Paulson know and when did he know it? Jeff Plush needs to subpoena the tapes.

      • guest

        Well Prickson is on the board for USSF…

        • JL

          Not anymore. He left that position last year.

  • Joe

    Exposed in the WNT camp, people changed their mind.

  • HOFCToDi

    With Roger Goodell as Commissioner of the NFL:
    Spy-Gate
    Bounty-Gate
    Deflate-Gate

    With Jeff Plush as Commissioner of the NWSL:
    Pugh-Gate

    • Cc W

      Plush-Pugh-Gate – but don’t worry, it is only a matter of time before they change the rules again and snap – they’ll tell us we dreamed it.

      • HOFCToDi

        Look behind the grassy knoll ……..

        • Steglitz49

          Maybe Portland think Amandine Henry is Thierry Henry’s sister?

          • David K Anderson

            Heh. Most of us (soccer fans, that is…which is a LOT of Portlanders) know exactly who Thierry is, but not as many know Amandine (WoSo is big here, but not AS big…). They may be in for a shock when they see her. =P

    • kernel_thai

      Pepe La Pugh-gate

      • Lorehead

        Pay, Pay La Pugh?

  • Jen

    I don’t know what the big deal was any ways. Mewis and Hinkle don’t deserve allocation contracts, yet they have them. So why not give Pugh one?

    • Guest

      I think the big deal is that the family requested to be allocated to Portland and I felt like all the rules were being broken in favor of Portland more than her going pro and being allocated(although there were some that didn’t think she earned it).

      • KT5000

        “the family requested to be allocated to Portland and I felt like all the rules were being broken in favor of Portland the Pugh’s wishes”

        There, fixed it for you.

    • One of a Kind

      A better question is, why give an unproven teenager one? Hinkle had a decent NWSL season and has a legitimate shot to make the Olympic roster. Although Mewis hasn’t set the world ablaze in her USWNT appearances, she’s been in the player pool or outside looking in for a few years now.

      If Pugh was going to the Yankees of the NWSL and was/is essentially a “project” for years to come, was it right to give her a contract ahead of players playing well in the league simply based on her prospective ceiling? Doesn’t that, to an extent, also discredit the legitimacy of the league?

      • guest

        Player development. Other nations are catching up and fast I don’t think NCAA development will ever be as good as playing at the highest level possible. Carli is a much better player now than she was at 27. You would be hard pressed to find a single european football star who could say the same. Most NWSL clubs simply can’t afford the investment it would take to take a chance on a young player’s development and wouldn’t bother if they weren’t allowed to hold onto said player after allocation. We would end up seeing every single top prospect go through Orlando or Portland if they were allowed to keep those players.

        • guest

          Orlando and Portland might just get top choice regardless because now allocated players will probably think they can strong arm teams to go where they want and those teams have more “equity” that they can trade away.

        • Ethan

          I have to disagree a little on Lloyd. Her 2012 Olympics performance was much, much better than her 2015 World Cup, and her 2013 NWSL season was her best NWSL season. So, even though she wasn’t 27 in 2012-2013, she was definitely better then than she is now.

          I do see your overall point though. 27 is looked at as the stereotypical prime year of an outfield player’s career.

          • Guest

            She was 30 during the 2012 olympics which is an age I think most would consider the downside of her career. I agree that her would cup play this year outside of 2 games wasn’t great but she also played a stretch of a couple months this year that I thought were as good as any in her career. I thought she was starting to look her age in the last three VT games though.

          • HOFCToDi

            I disagree.

            Xavi’s best years were from the ages of 28 thru 31.

            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xavi

          • link master

            It’s not you disagreeing. It’s you agreeing with someone else. Think much?

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe a reflection of the state of WoSo.

            Is pro-WoSo really moving forwards to brighter uplands? It seems to be sinjking into a morass of Zimmerframes Utd vs Hipreplacement Wanderers.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear! Laueren Holiday called it a day at 27 and ARod has just stepped out at 28 to have a second baby.

            Another way to look at it is that when they won the WC in 2011 the Nadeshiko averaged 25 with 2 palyers >30 while in 2015 when they lost in the final they averaged about 29.

            Vikky Rebensburg, the German alpine skier who won Olympic Gold in Vancouver, revealed that she has a new role in the German team this season. It is her job to go through the hotel at 10 pm and make sure everyone is in their rooms. When asked by the interviewer how that made her feel, Vikky answered: “old”. Rebensburg is 26.

          • guest

            Nobody walks away from a six-figure salary for playing a children’s game unless they have a golden parachute.

          • Steglitz49

            What is ARod’s golden parachute? Lauren’s I understand.

          • guest

            Arod’s not going anywhere.

          • Steglitz49

            She is going on maternity leave and there is no guarantee that she will be back.

      • TsovLoj

        Does seem like some Freddy Adu thinking, doesn’t it?

        • ¯_(ツ)_/¯

          And how well did that turn out?

          • TsovLoj

            My point exactly.

          • ¯_(ツ)_/¯

            I know it may be in poor taste to say this but I would laugh if she ended up being like Adu. Over hyped and good for nothing.

          • Cc W

            Let’s hope she doesn’t – hearing that she is going to play for UCLA should give her a better chance to succeed. It is always possible, but most 17 yo are not ready to be a professional.

          • guest

            She’s being labeled a “prodigy”. Do you realize just how many so called prodigies US Soccer has pushed on us and when a major game is on the line, they never show up? All she is, is a young face that US Soccer hoped they could use as a carrot to dangle to the youth now that Abby is gone.

        • Cc W

          I mentioned Freddy when it was reported that Pugh was going pro. Too much pressure too soon – let the young lady go to college and have some fun and play college soccer. Real life comes soon enough.

        • ARED

          Although, to be fair, signing her at 17 to be a fringe player and/or one for the future is quite different than signing Adu at 14 to be the “savior” of soccer in the USA and putting him a Pepsi commercial with Pele that you broadcast everywhere.

    • Guest2

      You can’t compare apples to oranges. Mewis and Hinkle are college grads and professionals; Pugh has a medal and a middle school diploma to her name.

  • One of a Kind

    Good on Pugh and her family on making what I believe (and more importantly hope) will be the right choice in the long haul. I wonder why the change in heart though; change in heart due to not being up to snuff in camp perhaps? Either that or USSF saw some of the negative reaction and wanted to save face, which seems more plausible to me. Paying a teenager a guaranteed contract (with the right to choose where to play to boot) while many in the league have to work a second job and/or retire early sets a bad precedent. I can only imagine how someone like an Ohai felt seeing the news.

    • guest

      Getting a year or two at college to mature before joining a very physical league will probably help her as a player in the long run. Hopefully it helps her grow out of being a horrible diver like that one she took at the U20 world cup.

  • Guest

    So does Portland get to hold onto the allocation spot and Pick whoever they want when they want or does it reset every year? If they can hold onto it for as long as they want they will get who they want anyway.

    • JL

      It resets after each season. So if Portland doesn’t use that spot this year, and they don’t finish last, then they lose it to whoever does finish last.

    • guest

      The Allocation Ranking Order will reset following the current year’s Championship match.
      The Allocation Ranking Order will be determined by the reverse order of finish of the prior NWSL season, taking playoff performance into account. The final ranking spot(s) will be provided to the Expansion Team(s).

      • Guest

        Well then the Breakers got the better of the deal, good for them. Something tells me the Thorns will be fine.

        • guest

          Is this the first time Boston has ever actually screwed someone over a trade?

          • Guest2

            IMO Portland screwed themselves over here. They took a gamble that fell through. It happens.

          • Guest

            I doubt Portland wanted Pugh, right now, as much as many seem to think. Pugh would be very far down the depth chart on their current team and she doesn’t look like she is ready to handle the physical play of the NWSL. The whole situation seemed like it was set up by both the USSF and Pugh’s parents who I think come out of this looking the worst. The Thorns don’t need the next U.S. superstar, they are the biggest game in town and the superstars come to them. Hopefully a team like Orlando can challenge them and the status quo.

          • guest

            Which is exactly why putting off going pro is a smart move for her. She needs game time, she wasn’t guaranteed that with Portland.

          • David K Anderson

            Good point. As said above, she’d be behind some very strong players in her position on the Thorns’ roster.

          • guest

            portland don’t need pugh. but they probably realized this is their best and maybe only chance to get pugh. pugh is considered a generational talent. teams don’t trade away generational talent picks. the edmonton oilers wouldn’t trade connor mcdavid to anyone.

          • Guest

            Pugh is nowhere close to a Connor McDavid comparison. She was and still is a project with a lot of potential. McDavid had been torching the best junior league in the world at the age of 15 and was playing against full grown men.

          • RM27Fan

            I don’t think this is a very good comparison. Although I have seen very little of Pugh’s play I don’t think she looks like a transcendent talent at the age of 17. That is precisely what Connor McDavid looked like at the age of 15. Sydney Crosby was actually endorsing the comparison to McDavid.

          • David K Anderson

            Or, possibly, they were misled by the league…which is going to get really ugly.

          • guest

            look’s like the dagny and pugh trades cancel each other out.

  • wosofan

    Okay, if she wants to experience the college life, then so be it. However, this decision is not the best for her soccer career. Maybe if she went to FSU or UVA, but even then, I’d say she is making a mistake, in terms of her development as a soccer player.

    • guest

      Because it would be so much better for a young player to ride the bench for a team that’s stacked the way Portland is? Young players need game time, she’s not guaranteed game time in Portland, she is guaranteed game time at UCLA. She needs game time to mature as a player so going to college is a safe move. Besides players that go pro so young seem to have a tendency to flame out earlier than others.

      • TsovLoj

        I suspect you’re right, although injuries could definitely pave the way for playing time for her. We seem to get a lot of them.

        • guest

          College is essentially what the U-21 or whatever level it is teams are in Europe, a way to get young players experience and game time because that’s the most important thing for player development at that age.

          • Steglitz49

            Ladiesn in Europe play U19 — last year it was won by Sweden, who beat Spain in the final and Germany in their S, Spain having seen off France.

            The world cup is U20 for the ladies. In the OG the ladies do not play U23 as the lads do.

          • Victorian Hypocrite 49

            Ladies? Where do the gentlemen play? What league?

      • mockmook

        She would get even more game time in a lower pro (foreign?) or semi-pro league than she would get in college.

      • Breakers fan

        Pac-12/NCAA D-1 soccer will be perfectly good as the setting for her soccer development.

    • David K Anderson

      Agreed…but what can you do? I’m not sure I’m buying absolutely everything her dad’s claiming, but it seems like the league was basically bullsh*tting everyone about her intentions. Not amused…and if the Thorns traded a draft pick (that would have been used for Raquel Rodriguez, no less) for nothing, and did so on bad info from the league, I suspect there will be (legal) hell to pay.

      Well, that, or we’ll figure out how to turn the allocation into Rose Lavelle next year…who I’d rather have, anyway. =P

      • TsovLoj

        It’s occurred to me that Portland might try and sweat USSoccer into allocating someone else they could grab.

        • David K Anderson

          My heart says “Lavelle,” but my head (and admittedly atrophied sense of ethics) want Rose to finish college.

          • guest

            The Pricks can’t hang on to the #1 spot without trades beyond this season. Everything resets after the season ends.

          • David K Anderson

            I know that (as, I suspect, does most everyone commenting in this thread). The idea is that the Thorns FO is going to pressure the league and/or USSF to compensate for the wasted draft pick, particularly if the league misled the Thorns about Pugh’s willingness to go pro. If that latter contingency is true, the league will almost certainly do something, if only to avoid either a suit or Paulson being a LOT less generous with distributing a big chunk of Thorns’ profits around the league.

          • guest

            Which will continue to perpetuate the idea that Portland can bend the league over at whim to get whatever they want.

          • David K Anderson

            Possibly…people are going to believe what they want to believe about this sort of thing. But being misled in a way that sacrifices drafting Raquel Rodriguez and deciding to play hardball about it is hardly “on a whim,” is it? It’ll depend on just what the league and/or USSF told the Portland FO about Pugh’s intentions.

          • guest

            doesn’t it strike you as a bid odd that portland wouldn’t have spoken to pugh or her parents before making this trade? if
            in fact this story is the truth.

          • guest

            seems more likely that pugh and/or other parties backed out after the fact.

          • guest

            including the ussf being one of the other parties.

          • Constant Weeder

            Since she’s not eligible for either draft or discovery, would Portland even be allowed to talk to her before she signs with USSF?

          • David K Anderson

            Good question, CW. Very possibly not.

          • guest

            Considering she may or not be in the same category as other players “claimed” by certain teams, where Portland can claim her rights for a select amount of time remains to be seen. It would not surprise me at all if in the future she ends up in Portland considering all this hubub.

          • David K Anderson

            Odd indeed. Enough so that I might have to with another guest: someone may have backed out after the fact, and this is all spin.

          • Guest

            It sure looks like Pugh backed out. I doubt Portland made the deal without some kind of assurances not that I think it will affect them too much. I hope the Riveters aren’t too hard on this young lady when she finally does don an NWSL jersey but these are the types of things that bring out the worst in fan bases. Unless some other deal is struck there is zero chance now that she ends up in Portland and to be honest I am not even sure Paulson wants her anymore if he did indeed get burned by what appears to be a bad business deal.

          • David K Anderson

            If that turns out to be the case, that she was going to do this, then backed out later, then yeah…I would be very surprised indeed if she didn’t hear it when she eventually comes here. “No pity in the Rose City,” and all that. Of course, that’ll likely be four years down the road, and that’ll ameliorate the abuse quite a bit, I’m sure. Heaven help her if there’s a USWNT game here in the meantime, and she’s called up, though. And certainly the team will have no further interest in her…

            However, if it really did go down as her dad’s claiming, I don’t think anyone will hold her responsible.

          • Guest

            I don’t know if I believe the father. Logic would dictate that someone would have had something concrete to justify giving up the 3rd overall pick. Pugh’s father saying that it was just a possibility doesn’t pass the sniff test for me. What I think is the most likely scenario is that someone in her family(probably her father) was pushing for her to go pro even though she wasn’t entirely sure what she wanted to do(what 17/18 year old is?). I imagine the USSF and the Pugh’s had agreed on allocation by the time the draft but sometime after Mallory changed her mind. The only thing I really know for sure is that this is a terrible situation for everyone involved(except the Breakers).

          • mockmook

            A teenager changed her mind.

            Let’s declare a national emergency!!!

          • Guest

            I definitely don’t blame Mallory for the situation. I blame the USSF and her parents. Unfortunately she is now going to be the one who bears the brunt of the way the events seem to have unfolded. She will probably be booed and hated whenever she plays in Portland and if it was her dream and aspiration to play there, that dream is likely dead.

          • GUEST

            Coaches/Managers definitely hold a black cloud over players whom cause some kind of “hiccup”. This one was a MAJOR HICCUP and I can only imagine he must be furious this has happened. Not to mention what the players are thinking of her.

          • Steglitz49

            Her parents (probably her father) was made to see the light. His mind was changed for him.

          • David K Anderson

            Yeah, that statement didn’t really pass my sniff test, either…but I’m trying to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. But love him or hate him, no one accuses Merritt Paulson of being a lousy businessman.

            We’ll probably never know…and that might be just as well. Because even though 17-year-olds are flaky by definition,I suspect the Portland soccer faithful would never forgive her…and we can be a tad, er…outspoken about players that end up on our sh*tlist. Just ask Clint Dempsey… =P

          • Miguel Najdorf

            Clint, Roger, and Hope, all love your hate ;^)

          • David K Anderson

            Hope seems to have fun with it: her reactions to the traditional “dodgy keeper” chant have been pretty awesome.

          • mockmook

            If one fan says “boo” to a 17 yo girl who changed her mind, they are lower than the lowest scum in the Portland sewage treatment plant — they aren’t a soccer fan, they are a thug.

          • ¯_(ツ)_/¯

            Well they do have crap water so it wouldn’t surprise me if they sank to that level

          • David K Anderson

            LOL. Probably the best larger city water supply in the country…

          • ¯_(ツ)_/¯

            IDK google Porland crap water and you might disagree. Remember to boil before drinking

          • David K Anderson

            No need to: I recall that incident quite well: I live in Portland. It was, thankfully, a brief (and gross) incident. Sure was glad I have a VERY serious portable filter.

            Seriously, the water here is excellent…to my considerable surprise when I moved here decades ago…I’d always lived in cities with terrible tap water.

          • kevin

            it’s gotta be better than flint michigans water right now.lol

          • David K Anderson

            Yeah, that’d be embarrassing. But you know it would happen, even though I’d like to think nearby fans would pitch them a big ration o’ poo for it.

          • Guest

            Fans aren’t exactly the most rational people especially on game day.

          • Breakers fan

            I have to think most Portland fans aren’t just “all about the soccer”. I would think that most – hopefully very close to all – consider the big picture of someone’s life rather than just about “me and what I want on the roster of my local soccer team”. No way Portland fans – not the Portland I remember from my years there – are so self-centered and small-minded. It’s just a matter of waiting for someone else to arrive, and I would be shocked if the NWSL/USSF doesn’t provide someone within the year.

          • David K Anderson

            I’m pretty sure the majority of fans will be fine with her decision…and if there really was some flip-flopping on her part (I doubt we’ll ever know the full story), that’ll be cool, too: we were all 17 once. But there will be a few who never forgive her (despite there being nothing to forgive, really). And they’ll be loud; that sort always is. Every supporters group has its louts (and that’s been an issue with the Timbers Army for a while: a minority have more enthusiasm than couth).

          • AnotherGuest

            There will definitely be people who will not be happy and believe that she cost the team a 3rd overall pick. In any other sport with a passionate fan base I think booing would be common place. Like it or not the situation has affected The Thorns even though most people can rationalize that she probably would not have made a significant impact for years anyway.

          • Breakers fan

            Very well-said. I can’t expect moral perfection from all those who come to Thorns games, and you’re right also that sport and crowds, the relative anonymity of being in a crowd and sort of immunity it provides, does tend to elicit some bad behavior. Hey, think of it this way, IF this is what it is, now you know what’s like to be on the maybe-short end of the stick in a transaction. Time will tell. It may prove to be a blessing in disguise.

          • David K Anderson

            Thanks! We ended up with Nadia Nadim out of all that messing about with the second pick on draft day, so I really can’t complain if our allocation spot comes to nothing.

            Oh, and great job picking up Louise Schillgard. Quality midfielder…

          • Breakers fan

            Thank you. I just watched some youtube video of her and am very happy with this signing. I’m gonna post it over where the Breakers were being discussed in another thread.

          • kernel_thai

            Any idea in why that happened? Did Nadim also say she would only sign with Portland or did she just want out of Jersey. I know she was looking into a move to the Swedish league as well.

          • David K Anderson

            I have no idea. I hadn’t heard she was unhappy there, but who knows? Thrilled to have her, in any case…

          • Lorehead

            All I know is that she was considering four offers from closer to home. So it seems as if her revealed preference, for whatever reason, was Portland > Sweden > Sky Blue.

          • David K Anderson

            Very odd…unless there’s a league rule (or handshake agreement among GMs) that teams don’t directly contact high-schoolers. If so, I’ve never heard anything about it, but I’d not be surprised if something like that were in place. At the moment, w/o more and better information, her dad’s statements seem a bit off to me, given some previous statements about the deal (notably that it was reported her family wanted her to go to Portland).

          • Miguel Najdorf

            The Reign would like compensation for ARod taking off year 1 to have a child, while we’re at it. Get used to disappointment.

            Getting an allocation spot has it’s own value. There are no guarantees who will be available associated with the allocation order “asset.”

          • David K Anderson

            I’m a decades-long Man City fan…disappointment and I are old friends, recent successes notwithstanding.

            I’d argue that an allocation spot that expires in a year and with the only player genuinely worth trading a high draft pick for it electing not to join the league, that slot has no value. The TRADE itself does (Nadim…), but not the slot. Without the slot being considered, the trade was basically Nadim for Rodriguez. I have no problem with that. Rodriguez MAY have a higher ceiling, but that’s by no means certain. Nadim is proven.

      • Lorehead

        We didn’t trade it for nothing; we got Nadia Nadim. For the sake of comity, it might be better for Merritt Paulson to just eat this one and sign Amadine Henry.

        • David K Anderson

          Fair point. Given the roster depth up front, it’s not like Pugh was going to see a lot of playing time.

    • Guest

      The Australian youngsters are known for their tendency to bow out to injury. I doubt the alarmingly high rate is due to their seasons being backwards.

      • guest

        If I could second this a million times I would. Players that go pro too young seem to flame out sooner than those that put it off until later. If it ends up helping the longevity of her career I’m sure she’ll be happy with her choice.

      • Guest

        They have also risen to a top ten team in the world and close to top 5 in a very short amount of time. Nobody is saying there are not trade offs.

        • guest

          Longevity for the program is a better pay off than making the top 10 with no reward in the near future.

          • Guest

            Younger players will always be on the horizon especially with the talent pool the US has. I think Australia will say that their risk paid off.

          • Guest

            http://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2015/nov/27/friday-focus-w-league-stars-face-a-long-road-back-from-serious-knee-injuries

            “In one game in 2012, Victory lost two players, Ash Brown and Louisa Bisby, to ACL injuries. Brown, who made her W-League debut at 16 and Matildas debut at 17, has suffered an incredible three ACL injuries in four games, the most recent occurring in the Victorian state league earlier this year.”

            Brown, who is now 21, was the W-League’s Young POTY in 2012. She played two matches in an amateur league in 2014 and I don’t think she’s played since.

          • Guest

            This isn’t refuting the point that there will always be other players to take her place or that despite all of these injuries Australia is now considered one of the best international WoSo teams in the world. The you movement worked for them.

          • Guest

            youth*

          • mockmook

            Gee, I wonder if any college soccer player has ever been injured. Nah!!!

          • Guest

            Roccaro played the entire year with a torn labrum in her hip.

          • Steglitz49

            Why? Was it not diagnosed? Can treatment be delayed without consequences? What is the point?

          • Guest

            3 ACL injuries in 4 games? Nah!!!

          • Guest

            How many cases of 3 ACL injuries in 4 games to up and coming star players are there. That seem a whole lot closer to a statistical outlier than pattern. I think Mockmook’s overall point that injuries can still happen at any time holds true.

          • ARED

            Perhaps it’s fair to say the youth players could be monitored better or handled a bit more delicately, but still be playing pro and international soccer. Half the Aussies are playing summers home and winters away, add Maltildas, and travel, and it’s a lot for sure.

            No one ever seems to respect the travel aspect -yet when you’re the one travelling you see just how “fun” it can be, and how your body needs time to recover even from a car/bus ride.

    • Footie

      This post is so stupid. UNC is the top college for getting on the national team. FSU has zero players on the national team.

      • Joe

        Has Florida State even had American play on the full US women’s national team? What developing are they doing for American players to reach the highest level?

        • Jerry

          The HC is non American that recruits other non American’s to win.

      • guest

        When was the last time UNC won a title and/or had a newbie called up for the NT? Their era might finally be at an end.

        • Footie

          Crystal Dunn. Though she got screwed out of WC spot. I believe they won it all in 2012. So yeah I guess after 30 years of dominance it is finally over. FSU has only won 1 national title and UVA has won zero. Not sure either has developed more pro’s. How many Tar Heel starters on the NWSL teams? I say a lot.

          • guest

            I wouldn’t say she got screwed out of a spot on the WC roster because up until about May or June of last year she wasn’t exactly showing well for the NT. In hindsight she was an omission but in reality how much playing time was she likely to actually get? Sorry I’m not one of those people that feels like she got screwed out of winning a World Cup because up until she got cut she wasn’t playing with a chip on her shoulder and she wasn’t a difference maker. This is the same kind of feeling I have for ARod, as in, these are players that play exceptionally well in club play but have not proven themselves to be vital to the national team.

          • Joe

            She didn’t play because she wasn’t outside back. I’m not sure when you watched her play under Jill. She didn’t play at all under her. She didn’t need her. Now she does. Sounds like Julie Johnston situation. Now she is in the right spot with Megan Rapinoe injury. Like JJ was when Engen and Rampone got hurt?

          • kernel_thai

            Well, Dunn played FB for the NT from January 2013 until she got cut in April 2015. If she couldnt play the position ud think they would have figured it out a little sooner than that. The Dunn move was purely political and Dunn is making them look fools because of it. But hey, they r used to it.

        • Jerry

          Virginia Head Coach is assistant on the WNT coaching staff. That help’s.

  • mockmook

    Wait, I was told for days that Portland gets whatever it wants. So, why aren’t they getting Pugh? Why is USSF (allegedly) stabbing them in the back?

    A new day, a new conspiracy theory.

    • fess up EQ

      EQ article above mentions a “source with knowledge …”

      “But a source with knowledge of the situation tells The Equalizer that as of last week, it was a “done deal” that Pugh would turn professional.”

      conspiracy theory readers want to know was this EQ source from
      – USSF
      – Portland
      – Pugh family
      – media
      – ???

    • Breakers fan

      My guess, and pardon me if this is said elsewhere in these comments – I haven’t read most of them yet – is that she has now gotten some time in camp and has seen what it’s like to be, 24-7, with women significantly older than she, and no doubt she is comparing this to life in her other U-17, U-20 camps and I think this experience is just coming up short in comparison. Then she extends that to “eternity”, as it were, — life around primarily women 7-17 years older than her natural immediate peer group and all of a sudden life as a soccer pro doesn’t seem so glamorous or attractive. Then she goes to her parents and tells them she’s had a change of heart. Totally understandable, and I commend her for making the right decision for someone that age.

      • Rufan

        I like your thinking. I wondered if she had little/no interest in college except to play soccer, make the WNT and wait to be a pro. She comes into her first senior camp and in the first few days starts to think she can do pro soccer at her age, she able to compete with the older kids, don’t need college years. But after another week of camp, reality occurs- the older players shake off the victory tour rust and shift into higher gears, the downtimes with little to do, the age differences with teammates, she hears what daily life at a Club is like, etc. Maybe college is not a bad idea?

        • guest

          But US Soccer said she was ready, and gave her the stamp of approval, and now just like that… *poof* stamp of approval revoked.

          • Breakers fan

            Where do you get the idea that “the stamp of approval has been revoked”? I think Mallory just overruled it by, in effect we hope, delaying it.

          • guest

            I wouldn’t blame Mallory for any of this fiasco.

          • Breakers fan

            That was the furthest thing from what I was trying to express in my post. I was defending her. (if I’m reading your post correctly; apologies if I am not)

          • guest

            First rule of the internet: Stick to your guns and never apologize for a post.

          • Breakers fan

            Ok, thanks. But I wasn’t sure if I was misinterpreting you because as I saw it you completely misinterpreted my post. And that caused me to wonder if I had been wrong. My point was that “the stamp of approval” (if you’re the one who wrote that first post) from the USSF hasn’t been revoked. She just intervened, as she obviously is allowed to do.

          • kernel_thai

            First rule of the internet is dont accidentally post a link to a porn site but urs is right up there : )

          • Rufan

            But ready to play on the WNT may be different that being ready to live that life.

          • Guest

            She can still play for the NT, go to the Olympics even, as an unpaid college student. It’s been done before. The people involved complicated what could have been a very simple situation by throwing in the Thorns and Nike money. She doesn’t have to choose NT or college. She can do both if the NT really wants her. The rest of it can come later.

      • mockmook

        A very plausible scenario.

        And, there is no way these other dullards — eh, um, I mean “brilliant commenters”, have thought of that angle.

        • Breakers fan

          I later wondered if perhaps some current USWNT veterans, or really any player with whom she is in camp, veteran or not-so-veteran, had some friendly talks with her during which they may have gently encouraged her to not miss those college years. Kind of as away-from-home Moms or big sisters. I bet that did happen.

          • mockmook

            I’m sorry, only one scenario is allowed per thread…

  • HOFCToDi

    Gina Lewandowski: Hans ….. oops I mean Merritt, bubby, I’m your white knight.

    Merritt Paulson: I must have missed that episode of 60 Minutes.

    • Steglitz49

      Odd that no NWSL team has managed to entice Gina back to the good ol’ US of A. What is the story? Has Gina a love interest in Munich? Spill the beans!

      • x

        Is it odd, though? Unless she’s allocated going from Bayern to the NWSL would probably be a large pay cut. And allocating a 30-year-old as a backup is a tough ask for the NT.

        • Steglitz49

          Stuck in a golden cage. Gilded, more correct, I guess.

  • mockmook

    Good lord, how many Guest/guest/guest2/etc. are posting on thread?

    • guest

      more than any one guest can keep up with

      • guest#1

        not all guests are created equal

    • kernel_thai

      I’ve got them all wearing name tags but it doesnt seem to help

  • guest

    Youtube “mallory pugh dive” and tell me this is someone you want representing your club. That’s Ashley Young/Neymar level of diving and quite frankly it’s embarrassing. Hopefully college can beat that out of her because we don’t need that in woso.

    • David K Anderson

      Wow…that is truly heinous. And diving does NOT sit well with supporters here…

      • Game Changer

        She needs to take a lesson from Alex Morgan (WC semi vs Germany).

    • Nicole C.

      That was brilliant. Suarez would be proud.

      • David K Anderson

        I dunno…didn’t look like she bit anybody.

        • Nicole C.

          Suarez is just a dirty player in general. He does it all. I still think of his self-proclaimed “Hand of God” nearly 6 years later… Hopefully I’ll never see anything of that kind in WoSo.

          • Steglitz49

            “God’s teeth”?

          • ARED

            Not to go too far off on this, but for all his drama and other poor behavior, the handball I honestly didn’t find as so bad as many others seem to.

            By the letter of the law he made a foul to prevent a goal, and was properly punished (red card, and penalty). Now, I understand of course why people were put off by it, but don’t see it as any worse than a GK or defender making a blatant foul on a player through on goal to prevent a goal. By the letter of the law everything played out as it should -until Gyan missed the penalty. Perhaps though the spirit of the law was broken, that is the debate I suppose.

          • Steglitz49

            Consistent and high quality refereeing is a comodity in short supply in the ladies top tournaments. FIFA ought to put some of its loot to helping developing and supportingwomen referees.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Suarez is not even the worst offender. And no! It is not THAT Argentine. It is the OTHER Argentine.

            https://youtu.be/MdqgfVdZ1eo?t=2m5s

          • Ethan

            He wasn’t sent off for that? What were the rules back then?

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            It was only a handball; and since it was in the box, it was penalty. Kempes didn’t even get a yellow card.

          • ARED

            I believe at that time it was not a mandatory red card (although the ref perhaps might still have given at least a yellow).

          • ARED

            Yes indeed -how far we’ve come….

            Went on to score in the Final, win the Golden Boot, and Argentina won the Cup -and the “Fair Play” award as well! (Also were some questions about them delaying matches, and if anything shady went on in the 6-0 win over Peru which allowed them to reach the Final). Just another day in FIFA-Land.

          • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

            Kissinger was in the grassy knoll!

            https://youtu.be/Tpzwg8DTSzo?t=3m20s

          • mskillens

            This one dive I seriously can’t understand.

            https://youtu.be/XW4OyQrXNF8

          • Ethan

            Suarez’s biting at Ayax and at Liverpool were definitely worse than the handball incident. And after he bit Ivanovic, he went on to score a last-minute equalizer. Argh!

            What puts me off about the handball incident though was that I feel that Suarez could have easily headed the ball and avoided all this drama. The ball was not far away from his head, and he seemed to just instinctually bat the ball away with his hand. A lot of the drama comes from the fact that Ghana would have been the first African team to make a WC semi-final if Gyan had made the penalty.

          • F0OtballNowAndAlways

            The most unsavory thing about the handball was not the infraction itself, but the fact that he tried to be sneaky about it, as if he intended to get away with it. If he had simply batted it away with a defiant air suggesting, “there, I swatted the ball away with my hand. I’ll take my chances with a penalty”, it wouldn’t have been so grating.

          • ARED

            Yeah…I remember wondering that too (if he might have headed it). But I also can recall times where I was standing on the goaline behind the GK, and the ball is coming at you, and you don’t really have time to think or be calm as you would anywhere else on the field…..lol. The goal seems so big then, and the ball comes so fast. Fun times….Makes me respect GKs a bit more….lol.

            And I hear the Africa story -it will be a great day when that happens. But I would have felt more sympathy for Ghana if the USA hadn’t already gifted them their entry into the QF to begin with. And, well, maybe just maybe I bleed baby blue. ; )

    • Cc W

      Whoa – and that is why this young lady at 17 isn’t ready to turn pro. Let her play for a few years in college – and hopefully she’ll mature.

    • guest
    • Lorehead

      Or at least make her better at it.

      • guest

        It’s tough for me to say that the American style is to not dive because we absolutely do, but one of the things that I enjoy most about WoSo is that there is a lot less of this then there is in MeSo.

        • Lorehead

          Same. I’ve been trying to get BroSo to catch on.

          • Steglitz49

            BroSo has a chance. I have used it also.

            MeSo has no rhythm, not even blues.

    • Ethan

      I have to say that I’m a little surprised by the reactions here to Pugh’s dive. I suppose one dive marks you as a serial diver who fans shouldn’t want to represent the club they support. Unless people who have watched Pugh regularly with her high school team, her club team, and/or her youth national teams step forth and claim that Pugh’s a routine diver with evidence to back up such a claim, I’m definitely not going to be so forward with my judgment.

      For example, take a look at Oscar. I have watched him play for Chelsea for more than three years now, and he’s never come across as a diver or as a player who goes to ground too easily anywhere on the pitch. He’s arguably the hardest working #10 in men’s football right now. Yet, he made a pretty heinous dive against Sunderland. However, I, and many other Chelsea fans, don’t hold that dive over him because that’s simply not the type of player he is. He’s inconsistent like Rapinoe and makes some fans question why Mourinho preferred him over Mata, but he’s most certainly not a diver. From what I’ve seen of Pugh, I don’t think she’s a serial diver at all, and I just don’t get the reactions to guest’s comment. She showed a moment of poor judgment; for now, I don’t think it was anything more than that. However, I suppose I’m overreacting to people’s reactions to Pugh’s dive; so, I’ll just stop now.

      • David K Anderson

        No idea if that’s serial behavior (nor did I make any such accusation). Nor do I care, particularly, since at this point, I’m pretty sure she’ll never play for us.

        But that dive in the video is ghastly. Not even a _good_ simulation… And Portland fans really don’t like divers, even (or maybe especially) on our own teams. Maxi Urruti, who became very well liked and is going to be badly missed, took a lot of heat when he first got here because he went down so easily (used to Argentine leagues…). He got over it. I assume Pugh will too, if it’s actually a problem.

        • Ethan

          I’m talking about the overall impression I get from multiple people’s comments, not yours.

          I’m referring to other posters’ comments that imply she’s a serial or routine diver. Comments along the lines of “she’ll mature/develop out of it” and “hopefully, she’ll no longer be a horrible diver like the one she had at the U20 world cup”. If she’s not a serial diver, why even make these comments?

          Also, the comment that you don’t want Pugh to represent your club because of that dive. Again, why make such a comment unless he or she believes it is a serial issue?

          I will admit though that I just don’t get why some people are worked up over Pugh’s dive on its own. It was an awful dive, nothing more.

          • Come on…

            Also, she was what, 16 when it happened? One dive at 16… and we are going to use this as a referendum on Who She Is As a Person?

          • Breakers fan

            Ethan was also defending her, I’m certain, but I agree with you. She probably simply watched a lot of men’s soccer and “emulated” them, once, with the goal of helping her team. Big whoopee. As Ethan said, it’s only a problem if it’s cereal, I mean, serial.

          • AlexH

            If she dove, got the call and her coach said “Great job Mal!” how can you blame her for doing it again?

          • Breakers fan

            Yes, there’s also that possibility at work here.

          • guest

            it does appear she has been watching alittle too much neymar.

      • One of a Kind

        Tell that to the American media that still purports Lady Andrade as a heinous player for her punch towards Wambach in 2012. Heck, the American media even misconstrued Andrade’s words during the 2015 WWC by saying Andrade branded the USWNT as dismissive of the Colombian WNT when in fact it was the media itself that treated them as a cakewalk.

        I completely agree with the sentiment that a player should not be judged for one known bad incident! People still blame LeB for the USWNT losing the WC in 2011, which made me wonder if that played a part in her not winning Defender of the Year this past NWSL season (not trying to start a conspiracy theory).

    • ARED

      It’s bad, but I need a lot more than one 2-second clip to decide whether a player has the character I want representing my club/nation/etc.

      • Nicole C.

        Also this happened a year and a half ago. She’s probably matured a bit since then.

        • ARED

          Agreed. And, when I was watching that tournament I came away with a positive impression of Pugh and her game -and nothing about diving or simulation. I don’t even remember this play. So I don’t really think it was an accurate representation of her even back then.

    • AlexH

      The dark arts will come to woso if the refs and the league / federations allow it to happen. If the situation is such that diving punished then players, including Pugh, will stop doing it, if the powers that be reward diving then it is good that we have a player that is striving to improve that part of her game.

  • Cc W

    Being a kid and a young adult in college is a good part of life – soon enough soccer will be a job for Pugh. Smart to go to college – even if for a few years.

  • LETITREIGN

    Hopefully Henry does this same.

    • Guest

      They still got Nadim, Dagny, Horan, Sonnett and Kling. Roster is updated. I think they will get that deal done.

  • AnotherGuest

    Although I am sure Paulson is seething right now I would be shocked if the USSF and the league didn’t throw him a bone some time in the next year.

    • guest

      don’t worry. portland never get’s nothing.

  • guest

    I most definitely believe she was set to go to Portland and US Soccer/NWSL helped to facilitate the move. Why was it the family said they chose Portland due to “extended family” living there, if there was no deal being made? There’s a stench of bull**** all in this story and I think the family/Mallory caught wind of how this was going to ruffle the feathers of many players in the NWSL and the NT. Once the idea of all the glory started to fade, reality sunk in that she could just carry on her commitment to UCLA and not deal with making enemies. There’s no way that she was worth a paid contract by US Soccer and I imagine they would catch hell for moving her up before others who’ve been playing on the U23s or playing pro already.

    • Ateenagersmom

      I think a 17 year old got caught up in the excitement, opportunity and validation of being the ‘phenom’ and the ‘first’good enough to do this. But, when the dust settled, and she realized her friends were all going to college, hanging out with friends, getting an education, and making a living building careers on and off the field with such, she took a deep breath and decided it was an experience she didn’t want to miss. Good for her to have the tenacity to back out and do what was right for her. She can always leave early and go pro, but once she is pro, there is no turning back.

  • GUEST

    Initially, when the story broke that she was going pro, my first reaction was the timing of this and her being on the roster this weekend for the USWNT vs Ireland. It seemed like a calculated effort by USSF to market a youth player for a new generation now that Abby is retired. However, with Jill Ellis, it sure seems like players with a connection to Pac-12 or even better, UCLA, seem to be given an advantage over others in the scope of call ups for the NT. It’s obvious they’re grooming Pugh to be the next “face” of women’s soccer, so she’d be able to double dip: playing college and for the NT if they are so bold to piss pool players off.

    • ARED

      So the USSF jumps straight from a 35 year-old to a 17 year-old as their marketing star….?

      Seems about right…. ; )

      • Steglitz49

        Alex is 26, not 35. Same age as Vikky Rebensburg, incidentally.

        • Vladlagg

          Steg’s already forgotten about Mary Abagail…

          • Steglitz49

            I put it to you that Alex eclipsed Abby already in 2012, POTY or no POTY.

            Why it took Carli so long to register on the Richter scale is a good question.

          • Schnoz

            The huge nose is a problem for marketers.

          • AlexH

            I think that woso hasn’t been big enough to support more than one star until very recently so even Alex and Abby was a marketing squeeze . Furthermore, if the media had space for a 3rd there was always hope solo testing the adage that all publicity is good publicity.

            That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it!

          • Steglitz49

            You forgot the power of body paint.

          • ARED

            Solo has been able to get coverage outside of the “US soccer world niche” for most of her career. But still, you have a point -US Soccer always seemed scared to push more than one player/image of the team.

          • mskillens

            Didn’t help that she inherited her Jimmy Durante snoze from daddy.

          • Steglitz49

            Nose is as nose does. It has not been a hindrance to this young lady:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vGR-bxqtbQ
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGT48_ZtH4k

            and Carli bsrushed up nicely at that knees-up in Zurich.

          • rkmid71

            Has not hindered Barbara Streisand either. I recall she considered a nose job, but then thought it could affect her voice. And that voice is pure butter. And Steffi Graf seemed to do ok. I thought Lloyd looked great at the FIFA awards.

          • Steglitz49

            Carli did indeed look stunning in Zurich.

            Thanks for Steffi. I was not sure whether readers of the EQ would remember Mrs Agassi. Thus, I chose another German lass! Also, I like this Golden Hen trophy and its history.

  • newsouth

    now, we can get back to bri pugh, as it should be.

  • Constant Weeder

    Hal Kaiser has an excellent article on this situation on KeeperNotes at https://t.co/80X6cTJ87f

  • AlexH

    Well I am glad sanity prevailed. There will be plenty of opportunities with UCLA, U-20’s and the full national team for her to work on her game while she gets her free education at one of the nation’s top universities.

  • Paul Atkinson

    This is probably her best decision…dammit.

    Study hard, Mallory, seriously. Stay focused, and visit from time to time. We’ll see you in four years!

    RCTID

  • john

    So did Parsons completely miss the boat here? Am I the only one that finds it hard to believe he didn’t have any knowledge of this? Did he really agree to this without any input/information? That just seems very odd to me. Conversely, if this was an example of USSF forcing something on NWSL ,maybe it will help the owners and GMs to grow some backbone and tell USSF to stop meddling in league affairs.

    • Breakers fan

      I don’t think — of course I am just another speculator in the crowd of all we speculators – there is anything shady, or backroom about any of this. My guess is that she was all-in, and then simply changed her mind after thinking about it some more. I believe she and she alone, well, with her parents to some extent, called all of the shots in this. No doubt interviewers will be trying to extract more info from her about this, so I think we’ll hear more about it.

      • john

        Her being all in or not doesn’t address my question (and maybe I worded it poorly). Did Parsons want to use a spot on a player that was most likely not going to contribute much? Did he have a choice? Was it Paulson’s call? Her coming or going doesn’t get at the issue of how this developed and where Parsons was in it all. I’m interested to know that.

        • Breakers fan

          Oh, ok, gotcha now. I think Portland fans could weigh in on this better than I could. One question would be: To what extent did Paulson even consult Parsons on this? Parson’s opinion may not have mattered much. Maybe Parsons said “Frankly I’ve barely seen her play, so, your call, Merritt.” Does that seem plausible? The scenario begs the question, or maybe you know the answer: How badly did *Paulson* want Pugh? Or, were the Thorns simply the named recipient of the Pugh family, with the USSF then delivering this de facto, done-deal news, (to what extent could the Thorns question or squash it before it happened?) to the Thorns.

          • KT5000

            This is an interesting question. My overall impression is that the GM (Wilkinson) and coach (Parsons) have significantly more influence over player acquisition decisions than Paulson does. However, you’d expect Paulson to be involved from a transactional standpoint. (From what I remember of the portion of the feed I caught, Paulson wasn’t at the table during the draft. But I could be wrong.)

          • Lorehead

            The leak from insiders has been that it’s mostly the coach who makes these calls, and Wilkinson mainly knows BroSo. But that was in the wake of last year’s disastrous finish. Paulson has to be in the loop, because he likes tweeting out hints about new signings, and he even said Pugh’s decision was the opposite of what he’d been told.

          • Breakers fan

            Odd – although admittedly I haven’t researched all the teams, but I’ve never even heard of this Wilkinson guy. What’s he like? Do most Portland fans like him? Yeah, the whole Pugh thing would be interesting to hear more about – how it went down (when, precisely, did they learn about it?, and the various opinions about how desirable they found it, from the Thorns triumvirate of Paulson, Wilkinson and Parsons). And lastly, as I mentioned before, could the Thorns have said “no” or were they goose-stepping to a USSF order with this?

          • Steglitz49

            This sounds like higher than the coach and GM. Granted, either of those could have been approached initially but the deal would likely have been handled at top level.

            I could imagine that it started in several ways. One option is that an ambitious (avaricious) family member contacted the coaching staff and told them that the young lady was having doubts about college and was it possible to do a Horan? They could have approached Paulson directly but how would they know how to contact him securely?

            Another, though less likely, is that Portland reached out to the Pughs. That does not sound likely but it can’t totally be dismissed.

    • AlexH

      I think that the NWSL is learning what college football coaches have known for decades. A verbal commitment from a teenager is worthless.

      • rkmid71

        That’s a pretty definitive statement. I would say sometimes (not with all teenagers). And same goes for college coaches — not all those verbal commitments they make are kept. But I think it’s fair to say mostly they are on both sides.

    • newsouth

      i think her family was looking for lebron james’ type fanfare when the word broke she’d go pro but it was just the opposite. like i said, this girl isnt a 17-18 marta. that’s the kind of phenom who ends up going from high school to the pros. usa still hasn’t produced a player of that caliber. in 3 yrs she won’t be the best player on the ucla squad or the pac 12. she’s having a nice “U” run like sybney had. that’s about it.

      • john

        Relevance to my comment?

      • Breakers fan

        I like and agree with the Marta comments in your post. Can’t really comment on the rest, – I’m not really sure a) how good she is now; or b) how good she can become. I’ve just not seen nearly enough, but I wish her the best.

      • F0OtballNowAndAlways

        How could you possibly know she won’t be the best player at UCLA in 3 years? Do you have a crystal ball?

        • newsouth

          name me a 5’3” phenom on the front end for the national team amongst their attackers and strikers? dunn is a more of a multi-position pure athlete which is why u can place her from the backline – a wing attacker. pugh is in the neighborhood of a-rod with less speed and physical build. she’ll be fringe like ohai. i rest my case. i’m not big on bandwagons, just observe and make the call.

    • Steglitz49

      USSF owns the NWSL do they not?

      • Terry Lash

        Technically, I don’t believe so, although technicalities probably don’t count for much, because USSF administrative and financial support appears to be essential to NWSL.

  • xanthophobe

    I think this was a good decision by Pugh. Here’s why:

    1. She certainly has the potential to be an amazing player, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to go from high school to the pros. Even if she just plays two years at UCLA, she’ll be in a better position to transition to the pros.
    2. She’s not just going to college–she’s playing for a great program with a great head coach in Amanda Cromwell (this season was rough but she basically had to build a Starting XI from scratch). And she’s in one of the best recruiting classes of all time with Jessie Fleming joining her. She’ll really be able to hone her craft and develop her skills and confidence more.
    3. Was she going to get a lot of playing time at Portland? Probably not, with Dagny/Horan/Jodie Taylor/Christine Sinclair up top. She’d be in a good environment (and with Mark Parsons, who is one of the best coaches in the NWSL), but she’s going to be the star of the Pac-12 and in a few years, will start for an NWSL club.
    4.. She has two more U-20 World Cups in her. She’s not leaving the national team picture any time soon.

    I like Pugh. I like her a lot. And I really think our college system needs to be revamped to provide the right type of developmental opportunities for players like her (NWSL reserve clubs, a longer college season). But even in its current state, I think she made the right move.

    Also, she just TROLLED Portland and the Reign fan in my loves that.

    • ARED

      All fair points, but I think it’s possible (emphasis on possible) that she could have been brought along very slowly on the field -it’s actually a good thing they wouldn’t rely on her this season -and then benefit from the training and other aspects of the pro world, while still being released to play all the US youth matches/WCs. There is something to be said for training with US (and other elite) internationals, compared to even a good school like UCLA where most players will not reach the NWSL level.

      It’s hard to know what the right route is in the USA, even for male players. But, I do think the options are getting better, if still cloudy. As you say, a strong career at UCLA wouldn’t exactly be a bad thing for her career….

      • xanthophobe

        It’s an interesting debate–would she be better off playing for the Thorns and being second fiddle for a while or would she be better off being the star of a UCLA team? I’m inclined to say UCLA is better, especially given the chance to play alongside Fleming (and Marley Canales, US U-20 international) and play for Amanda Cromwell. If she continues to get national team call ups (which I admit is no guarantee), she still gets some elite training. I would love to see us reach some type of system where elite talent like Pugh gets the training/competition structure they need–hopefully US Soccer will get working on that, although I’m not optimistic.

        • Steglitz49

          If WoSo at the Olympics became U23 as for the lads, she would get that training.

          • xanthophobe

            Well she has two more U-20 World Cups in her, so there’s that.

          • Steglitz49

            The next one is in Papua New Guinea in 11 months time.

        • ARED

          Indeed, well said. I mostly am have been posting the counter to the “she’s crazy to skip school!!” mindset many have been sharing, but your post and reply are much more well-reasoned.

          I just like to point out that just b/c the NCAA is the best established system to develop players, it doesn’t mean it is the only one -and it certainly isn’t the best possible. It seems like a lot of Americans are a bit stuck inside the NCAA mindset, since it is used for most other US sports. I just like to point out there are other ways, if you eventually build the resources/leagues/clubs to make them successful.

          • rkmid71

            NCAA would be better at identifying and developing top players if they lengthened the season and moved to more closely mirror FIFA substitution rules. There are too many games jammed in too short a time, not enough time allowed for recovery, practically unlimited subs, etc.I had thought the NCAA was considering and close to approving such changes.

          • ARED

            I agree, it is too different and too isolated from real (ahem…FIFA regulation) soccer. ; )

            I am honest, I don’t usually follow it closely b/c I don’t really rate it, so I can’t speak about any rule changes or tweaks. There is a lot of good soccer out there these days, and I don’t feel the NCAA is a good place to go to find it.

          • mockmook

            When it comes down to the top 16 or top 8 teams in the NCAA tournament, you are missing out on some very high quality soccer (despite the substitution rule).

            And, you get to see most of the future for the USA NT.

          • ARED

            I still watch it especially in the late stages, just not religiously. And when I do it’s more to see certain players than to see the actual games, which you allude to.

            (It depends on where I am and such too -if I’m stuck in somewhere that gets NCAA matches maybe i’ll watch, but probably not if a La Liga match is on at the same time…..lol).

          • xanthophobe

            100%. The NCAA is a great avenue for many to pursue, but shouldn’t be seen as the end all, be all. Especially in the context of establishing elite soccer talent to compete on the global stage.

  • AlexH

    To UCLA’s credit, their fan blog covered this story prominently and evidently cares about woso:

    http://www.bruinsnation.com/2016/1/16/10778670/ucla-losing-top-football-recruit

    http://www.bruinsnation.com/ucla_recruiting/2016/1/20/10802880/mallory-pugh-passes-on-pros-will-attend-ucla

    The latter story is on the front page of their blog.

    • One of a Kind

      Good find. There’s also seemingly no ill-will, which is great to see. If anything, Pugh elevated herself in the eyes of the nation; an ESPNW writer (Kate Fagan) even mentioned her on ESPN’s “Around the Horn.”

  • Wear Nikes Drink Gatorade

    This doesn’t really hurt Portland, as she probably wouldn’t be much of a factor this year for them. They still have top ranking in the allocation system, and who knows, maybe they get Pugh a year down the road. There’s nothing that says she has to stay for four years. It’s good for Pugh, as she’ll get more playing time at UCLA. If there is a deal available for her, she can always turn pro next year.

    • Wear Nikes Drink Gatorade

      Allocation resets after each season; my mistake. It will depend on when exactly the allocation order is officially reset; NT players are dropped from allocation months before new ones are allocated, so Portland might be able to pick up a player before it’s reset.

  • F0OtballNowAndAlways

    Her family probably changed their mind about their daughter going pro after some of the unnecessarily acerbic and sometimes veiled racist criticisms they read about the decision. I can only say I hope they have truly made the decision they are most comfortable with.

    • Guest

      If this niche media spotlight with a 2 day second tier news cycle was too much then certainly don’t go pro, become the face of Nike, and join a group of elite adults who fight daily for the right to potentially flub on national tv. There was zero elements to going pro that was going to be easy. All of was going to be hard. Least of all two days of people griping in message boards. If the fear of grippers was the reason then they weren’t taking the rest seriously enough. It’s all hard.

      • F0OtballNowAndAlways

        With such strong opinions, you really should get yourself a proper username and ditch the “guest” business. Unless of course you already have one.

    • Steglitz49

      They have had their 15 minutes of fame. Now back to reality.

      • F0OtballNowAndAlways

        I put it to you, as you would say, that the key to professional success in America is not a college degree, but a good union job. In my neck of the woods, many bus drivers, workers in the construction trades and the behind-the-camera positions in the entertainment industry, all earn more than many college graduates. A college degree is fine as that goes, but in a land teeming with career options, it’s hardly imperative.

        • Lorehead

          Aren’t many of those, any more.

        • Steglitz49

          Alex went to Berkeley and a whole slew have gone to Stanford (KO, Christen Annemarie spring to mind) not to forget UNC, Duke and now Rutgers.

          Obviously, if she choses to drive bus that is her choice but she might also get herself an engineering or accountancy degree and work in that capacity on a construction site.

  • HOFCToDi

    Backheel
    Soccer Morning: 1/21/16

    backheel.com/2016/soccer-morning-12116/

    Today’s show kicks off with Jeff Kassouf (Equalizer Soccer) to discuss Mallory Pugh’s decision to turn down the NWSL in favor of attending UCLA.

    • Breakers fan

      Considering that *every* USWNT player in history, save Lindsey Horan, went to college it shouldn’t be that big of a deal that another potential member is also going to go. The level of competition for every past USWNT member was good enough in college to get them to what they became in the sport, and considering that the game is strong now at that level we should, in my opinion, not worry about her development. She’ll get the chance. She’ll have a very good coach, strong teammates in a top-notch conference. That’s all good; it’s good enough.

      • HOFCToDi

        If four years of college was sufficient for Mia Hamm, four years of college is sufficient for Mallory Pugh.

        • Breakers fan

          Thank you for the succincticity.

          • Steglitz49

            Except it was the last millennium, wasn’t it. Pre Marta and Japan.

            I too am fully in favor of the college route. Lindsey Horan was a little older than Mallory Pugh when the Emir bought her services and it was Paris and PSG. Also, the deal agreed with the Emir seems to have been generous, honest and decent.

            I guess if Lindsey had found love in the arms of a Frenchman and decided to stay and switch national eligibilty we would not be so sanguine about it, I guess.

          • Lorehead

            Note that, under the FIFA rules for the one-time switch, they cannot do this if they don’t live in the other country for five consecutive years. Which they can’t do if they play in the U.S. And US Soccer is very adamant that all the players in its pool do.

          • Steglitz49

            My mental gymnastics related to Ms Horan falling in love with a European (eg a French) marrying her/him and living in that country.

            Remember Jack Charlton and Ireland?

  • HOFCToDi

    Speaking of NWSL player allocations, the Canadian Soccer Association is out in the wilderness.

  • Guest

    Wise move. Get the degree. She will always have that college education.

  • Jersey Shore Rises

    Glad to hear she will attend UCLA and not go pro at the age of 17. In the long run having playing 4 years in college will help her down the road when going pro.

  • Guest

    Hopefully she made the best decision for herself but I am not convinced that College soccer is the best environment for her to train and get ready for the next level. UCLA is not Wisconson but Costa Rica’s national team just smoked Wisconson 10 nil

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhU0CVr-ODE

    • ARED

      NCAA offers infrastructure, facilities, and stability, which is usually more than young women’s players can get elsewhere. But Portland/US Soccer seemed to be offering all of that to Pugh. As well as a much higher level in training and matches…..

      • Steglitz49

        NCAA offers the opportunity of spending 4 years with your age peer group and get a college degree. Also, time to fall in love, learn how to bin boyfriends and generally enjoy your youth.

        She could do a junior year abroad — maybe in Paris and play for the Emir, in the capital of Bavaria and team up with Gina and any other American there, or even go tot that great soccer academy that raised and honed Hope and Christen Annemarie.

        • rkmid71

          Certainly not possible (yet at least) to get your youth back. Not a bad idea to go to Sweden … and learn the tricks/wisdom from Marta before she retires. I really think that is a significant factor in how Press finally found her way into the NT. I hope Marta doesn’t retire after OG … but she might.

    • rkmid71

      Well UCLA had a losing record last year 8-10-1 and finished 8th in PAC12. And doesn’t Lavelle paly for Wisconsin and in the WNT camp at moment. One wonders what roster Wisconsin fielded.

    • WTH

      This is not Wisconsin or at least Wisconsin in the last 4 years.

  • mskillens

    Good job dad. Take her in the education route so she can have a future.

    • Lorehead

      Abby Wambach recently said that she needs to look for a new job. (And she has a working spouse.)

      • mskillens

        Abby Wambach has a degree in business from Gator college and has had many job offers. She is also campaigning for Hillary Rodham so I’m pretty sure she’s not struggling for work.

        • Steglitz49

          And, if Mrs Clinton wins the election, Abby will be her national security advisor? Or, minister for Veterans Affairs?

  • Anson

    It is nice to see that her father is reporting this but it would have been nice to see him report that “Mallory and I discussed the opportunity to go pro but in the end we decided that college was the best option”! She’ll have plenty time to go pro!

    Go News, Mallory! Have the Time of your Life!

  • guitta Dabe

    College is such a waste of time for people who know what they want to do in their career. The window for an athlete is so small (10-20 years). There is plenty of time afterwards to go to college or complete courses online. I understand that this was not a possibility before the women’s league, but now that there is one whereby athletes can get paid handsomely (not counting endorsements!) while improving their skills, I think it’s a no-brainer. You can never assume good health, and it is prudent to maximize earnings while top physical health is there.

  • CJ

    I think that Mallory PUgh is one of the best soccer players alive and she has made the right choices on her way to destiny