June 5, 2019, published on 

When Mallory Pugh is dribbling, attacking, she doesn’t think. Doesn’t think about the defender in front of her. Next to her. Behind her. It’s not that she isn’t processing her surroundings; rather, her mind is blank, almost as if she has blacked out. Instinct tells her when to pull back. When to accelerate. Her feet, her body, just go. “It’s hard to explain,” Pugh says. “You’re literally not thinking. You’re just being. You’re just out playing.”

She’s never had to think. She hasn’t even considered herself somebody who thinks for that matter: “I’m not much of a thinker.” Not thinking is what has allowed her to maintain her poise when competing against women nearly twice her age. It’s what helped her become the youngest U.S. women’s soccer player to score in the Olympic Games at just 18 back in 2016. She’s always relied on being the fastest, most electric player on the field, nearly impossible to defend in one-on-one situations.

“You give Mal space,” says Alex Morgan, co-captain of the U.S. national team, “and she’ll do magic with it.” (READ FULL STORY HERE).