UCLA signee Mallory Pugh was named to the U.S. Olympic women's soccer team Tuesday, but it's still unclear if she'll suit up for the Bruins this season.
Pugh is also currently on the U.S. roster for the U-20 World Cup in the fall, according to UCLA head coach Amanda Cromwell, and U.S. Soccer is making those players redshirt for the upcoming season. Cromwell said Tuesday that Pugh won't be playing for the Bruins this fall unless she changes her mind about the U-20 World Cup.
"We have the No. 1 non-conference schedule in the fall and the No. 1 recruiting class coming in, and right now we have to concentrate on what we're preparing for for the fall," Cromwell said in a June interview. "And we hope [Pugh] is a part of it going forward but we'll be excited with all the players we have."
Pugh is the only amateur on Jill Ellis' 18-player roster, and will be the second youngest player in U.S. Olympic women's soccer history when the Games start Aug. 3. The 18-year-old is widely considered the best American player at her age, and there were talks this past year that she may skip college and go straight to the National Women's Soccer League. She then decided in January that she would remain committed to UCLA.
Around that same time, Pugh became the youngest female player to be make the U.S. roster for an Olympic qualifying tournament. She built her reputation on the national level with the U.S.'s U-17 and U-20 teams the past three years, and on the club level with Real Colorado near her hometown of Highlands Ranch, Colo.
"I think Mal has had a fairly seamless — at least it appears that way — transition into this environment," Ellis said in a U.S. Soccer release Tuesday. "She's fit in well socially, the soccer piece has been very, very good and what I like about her is that she's come in, held her own and she doesn't get fazed or rattled."
Pugh currently leads the U.S. with seven assists in qualifying play, and assisted on the team's only goal in a 1-0 win over South Africa on Saturday.
"She's a quality player and she's a big part of this future, this program going forward," Ellis said. "It's not just bringing her in to get experience, it's bringing in a player that can help us down there and impact the game."