UCLA has signed U.S. women’s national team player Mallory Pugh
and Canadian Women’s World Cup veteran Jessie Fleming
, giving them the best young players in both countries.
Both players will be taking part in Olympic qualifying that begins next week in Texas.
There was speculation that Pugh would turn pro and become the first player to sign with the NWSL out
of high school, but she committed to the Bruins.
“Mal Pugh is the best player in youth soccer in the U.S., and getting her to UCLA was a top priority for our staff,” said UCLA
coach Amanda Cromwell.
“Mal has the It Factor! She changes games in a moment with a quick decisive dribble. She has the game intelligence to slice through the defense without the ball to
create goals in high level games. She is the player that other coaches stay up at night trying to figure out how to contain. Mal chose UCLA because she could balance her U.S. Soccer dreams and get an
elite college education that secures her future beyond soccer in the process.”
Fleming made her Canada debut in 2013 when she was 15 years old. She has 21 career caps to her credit
and played with Canada at both the 2015 Women’s World Cup and the Pan American Games. She was Canada’s U-17 Player of the Year in 2014 and the U-20 Player of the Year in 2015.
“She has what a coach loves in a center midfielder, a mix of being an extraordinary fit runner and a soccer player with vision," said Cromwell. "Jessie reads the game as well as any player
I’ve seen, and she will be on every team’s scouting report from day one. Jessie can do it all, on the dribble, off the ball, final pass and score the goal. She is coming to UCLA because
she wants to become an engineer and continue on with the Canadian national team.”
Also signing with UCLA were U.S. youth internationals Marley Canales
, Jayce Pederson
and Kaiya McCullough,
and Juco All-American Julia Hernandez