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U.S. Soccer Star Mallory Pugh on Faith in Christ: ‘I Could Not Live Without Him’

Photo from Mallory Pugh’s Instagram

U.S. Soccer Star Mallory Pugh on Faith in Christ: ‘I Could Not Live Without Him’

By Movieguide® Staff

U.S. Women’s soccer player Mallory Pugh recently discussed how faith in God carried her through one of the most challenging years of her life.

In 2016, Pugh—who is engaged to Atlanta Braves champion Dansby Swanson—became the youngest player to play in the Olympics and score a goal. Pugh also helped lift the USWNT to a FIFA Women’s World Cup win in 2019.

Despite her previous success on the field, Pugh said that the next two years would be what would change the way she lived her life.

While church and God were a part of Pugh’s childhood, they did not take root until later in life.

“I grew up in the church. I’ve always had a background, but I wouldn’t necessarily say I had a true relationship that I have now with God,” Pugh told Jon Ackerman on the Sports Spectrum podcast. “When I was deciding on whether or not I’m going to stay at UCLA or go professional, I feel like that was really a time where that was kind of what kicked it off. I really gave it all to God.”

The life and testimony of a friend named Annika helped Pugh see her need for a real relationship with God. In 2020, Pugh was baptized. Almost immediately, Pugh said that God tested her newfound faith.

“In the fall of 2020 I got baptized in Atlanta… then I think last year was probably the biggest year that I’ve had the most like spiritual growth,” Pugh said of 2021. “Last year at the beginning of the year, I got injured at national team camp, which was very devastating because the Olympics were coming up. Then [I] kind of healed the injury a little bit and then I went back to camp and hurt the same thing, but this time, it was much worse.

“At that point, the Olympics were kind of out of my reach,” she explained. “It would have had to be a miracle. Then I just remember asking God, I was like, ‘Why is this happening?’ I look back at it now and I’m like, ‘I know exactly why it happened, because my faith in him has grown immensely.'”

Although Pugh missed the Olympics, she said that her relationship with God grew more meaningful.

“Me getting injured and me missing the Olympics and me kind of finding myself on the field again, really started because I found myself in Christ even more,” she said. “You hear all the time it’s like through the trials and tribulations you have the most growth and it really is so true. Last year… it’s been my favorite year of my life so far. The year started off so terribly and then I just really found my relationship with God and it just really took off. I wouldn’t want it any other way now.”

Pugh also credits her relationship with Swanson as one of the ways God helped mold her over the past couple of years.

“This man right here. He inspires me everyday. Yeah he’s a great baseball player but if anyone knows him he’s an even better person. He helps me live out my faith is Jesus,” Pugh wrote in an Instagram post from Nov. 2021. “God’s plan for him hasn’t been easy. The game of baseball has driven him crazy at times but the one thing that he always goes back to is Our Savior. It’s the faith and trust in God during trials in a season that most people don’t see. It’s becoming the man that God made him to be. And finally it’s him giving all the glory to God.”

Pugh said that as their relationship with Christ grew, so did their love for one another.

“When Dansby and I first started dating, I told him, ‘Listen if we’re gonna be a thing, and we’re gonna have a future together, Jesus and God, that is our foundation,” she said. “I look back at the past four and a half years and it’s amazing how much growth that we both have had in our faith. I know I’ve helped him and he’s helped me, and I think it’s truly amazing seeing Jesus work in both of our lives. I’m just excited to continue to see what the Lord has for both of us individually and then I think together too.”

Pugh said that her relationship with God grew exponentially when her view on identity shifted from sports to Christ.

“I feel like my identity was so wrapped up in soccer and when the game is kind of taken away from you, you start questioning, ‘Am I actually supposed to be doing this?'” she said. “I feel like God, he took that away from me so I could go find him and that I could have a deeper relationship with him and that I could not live without him. There was definitely a time where I [didn’t] know if I am actually going to be doing this anymore.”

But Pugh said she relied on her “faith and just truly trusting in God’s plan.”

Pugh and Swanson’s favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5, which reads: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Read Also: Atlanta Braves Star Dansby Swanson Reflects on World Championship: ‘Our Purpose Is To Serve God’