AURORA, Colo.–Colorado’s Lindsey Horan and Mallory Pugh will be suiting up and taking the pitch as the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team defend their world cup title this month in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Horan was the first female American soccer player to sign a professional contract straight out of high school, and Pugh is the youngest woman in history to make the USWNT.
Horan grew up in Golden, Colo. and began her soccer career with the Colorado Rush soccer club U11 team. At age 15, Horan was one of the youngest players on the USWNT U17 team where she proved herself to be a force, scoring 12 goals in nine games. In 2012, Horan bypassed a college scholarship to play for North Carolina, and instead signed with French club Paris Saint-Germain where she scored 46 goals in 58 games. In 2016 Horan signed with the Portland Thorns where she currently plays as a midfielder.
Like many of the elite players today, Pugh started playing at the early age of four in local recreational leagues. Coming up through the ranks she played club soccer with Real Colorado in the Elite Clubs National League and won the U-16 state and regional titles and became runner-up at nationals. Pugh went on to win several accolades, including:
- 2012 All-Colorado Team
- 2013 NSCAA Youth All-American
- 2014-15 Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year
- 2014 and 2015 NSCAA Youth Girls National Player of the Year
- 2015 Colorado Sports Hall of Fame High School Female Athlete of the Year
Following in Horan’s footsteps, Pugh chose to turn professional instead of attending UCLA. In January 2016, the young superstar signed with the National Women’s Soccer League and currently plays for the Washington Spirit. Pugh then went on to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World cup.
There are 24 teams competing in group stages from June 7 to June 20, beginning with Group A, France vs. South Korea. The group of 16 will play June 22 to June 25, with quarterfinals June 27 to June 29, and semifinals on July 2 and 3. The final game to decide the winner of the tournament will be held on July 7.
The USWNT makes its first appearance in the World Cup on June 7 against Thailand.