USWNT’s Mallory Pugh is on FYE


Mallory Pugh led the USWNT to a 5-1 victory over Denmark on Sunday to kick off 2018, scoring twice and adding an assist.

On Jan. 21, U.S. women’s national team forward Mallory Pugh showed soccer fans two things:  first, at just 19 years old she can put the team on her back, and second, what the word “fye” means.

The two go hand-in-hand. The USWNT wrapped up January camp with a friendly against Denmark on Sunday at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego. The USWNT kicked off 2018 with a stellar come-from-behind 5-1 win anchored by two goals and an assist from Pugh. The two goals from Pugh came in the second half, her first career brace.

Although Pugh was a key member of the National Women’s Soccer League’s Washington Spirit team last season, 2017 wasn’t her best. 2016 was a monumental year for the striker, who made her first senior team appearance and even scored in her first match. The then-17-year-old was the youngest player to represent the USWNT since 2002. Pugh’s impressive year didn’t stop there either; she went on to represent the U.S. at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and became the youngest U.S. soccer player to score at the Olympics.

Fast forward to 2017 and Pugh decided to forego her NCAA soccer career at UCLA and play professionally. Pugh joined the Spirit, becoming the youngest player in the NWSL and scoring six goals in her rookie campaign. Pugh has a nose for goal, and when she’s healthy there’s no stopping her driving to the end line, doing a quick shake-‘n’-bake and burying it.

On Sunday, Pugh was not only fearless on the ball, but also showed just how mature a player she is. Pugh was able to anticipate mistakes from Denmark’s backline and keeper and capitalize; there wasn’t any waiting for a chance or ball to fall into her lap; she was after it.

Next: USWNT January Camp is here: What’s in store for 2018?

The USWNT are in a very good position in terms of attacking options. Alex Morgan, playing arguably the best soccer of her career, has scored eight goals in her last eight USWNT games. Julie Ertz is holding down her newfound role in the midfield and chipping in cheeky goals left and right. On Sunday, Ertz scored her 15th career goal off a volley to give the USWNT the 2-1 lead.

And of course, the University of South Carolina’s Savannah McCaskill, who earned her first cap over the weekend. McCaskill was the second-overall pick in the NWSL College Draft last week and adds another option for Jill Ellis up top. Ellis is likely to stick with Pugh in the starting lineup for the upcoming SheBelieves Cup, and like Ellis said after the weekend, “She’s growing in every area of the game and in her sophistication.”

So where does the fye part come in? During halftime, USWNT legend and ESPN reporter Julie Foudy interviewed and caught up with Pugh while she was out surfing.

Pugh, youngin’ that she is, was asked about her role with the team and what hip young things she brings to the squad. Pugh mentioned that she introduces sayings to her older teammates, like “fye,” which means “fire,” apparently. Foudy, and all of Twitter, ran with it.

The moral of the story here? Pugh is on fye. And without having any idea she would be introducing the “older crowd” to a word that will now be used incorrectly on every possible occasion, it’s fair to thank her for the knowledge. Because now we have a buzzy word to use over and over again for the next year.

So which came first, the chicken or the egg? Fye or Pugh? Pugh most definitely came before fye and has made fye, well, fye.