Mal Pugh; the name pops. The 18 year old Midfielder for the USWNT has it all. First off, she has the talent. An extraordinary amount of ability is needed to make the best national team in the world, at the tender age of 18. The wonder kid was the youngest player to ever enter a USWNT Olympic Qualifying Game , while she was still just 17 years old. Her combination of rapid pace, creativity and precision on the ball has enabled her to play a star player from a very young age. Dominating the high school ranks of Colorado, Pugh has been such an exiting player that she began to earn call-ups to the National Team. However it takes more than raw talent to make an Olympic team. A great mental toughness and competitive attitude is needed. Pugh possesses both of these things and has fit in perfectly with the already tight and successful USWNT. While her playing ability will certainly draw great attention, it takes more than that to became a true, “Star”, in a general pop culture sense. Let’s be honest: The first time I watched Alex Morgan, I was not focused on her soccer talent. However, as a not particularly large women’s soccer fan at the time, I was more motivated to watch additional games, so I could watch my, “crush”, play. While Morgan is certainly a world class soccer player, her looks have been able to help her land MANY sponsorships, modeling opportunities, and a huge amount of social recognition and fame. Take for example; Abby Wambach. Abby is considered by many as one of the greatest players of all time (has certainly achieved a ton more than Morgan) and is known by many as a powerful LGBTQ activist, and an overall strong woman. However, Morgan has 2.5 Million and 3.8 Million Twitter and Instagram followers respectively. On the other hand, Wambach has 625k and 464k followers on the same platforms. Wambach also has not received nearly the amount of endorsement opportunities, or has close to the amount of common culture fame, especially with men, than what Alex has. I am not commenting on whether this is right or wrong, but it is just a fact that in this society, more attractive people receive greater attention and opportunities.
This is where Mal Pugh becomes very interesting. She has a very unique background with an African-American father and a White mother. She has a refreshing look and is objectively very cute. I am confident in saying that any men that stumble upon a USWNT game, will say, “Who is this cute #2 girl?” While that may seem cruel or very much on the surface, speaking from a male perspective, I can assure you it is true. Even without that type of discovery, her name will be all over the news (especially if she has some on-field success). This will lead to more people finding out more about her, and becoming intrigued with her. The more eyeballs she receives, the more of a Star she will become. This is just a PSA; Remember the name, Mal Pugh.