Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
American, 19, Soccer
US women’s soccer starlet ready to hit the big time
Key partners: Nike
2016 ranking: New Entry
American forward Mallory Pugh is widely regarded as one of the most exciting prospects in women’s soccer.
Despite overtures from her college to remain amateur, the 19-year-old redshirted her freshman year at UCLA to represent her country at November's Under-20 Women’s World Cup before signing for the Washington Spirit, her first professional club in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), in May.
That decision to go pro early only stoked the hype that surrounds Pugh, who has been making her presence felt on the international scene for some time. Having made her debut for the senior United States women’s national team (USWNT) at the age of 17, she has since scored four goals in 22 appearances, including one at Rio 2016 that saw her become the youngest American ever to score at an Olympics.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Mal. She’s an unbelievable talent and we want to work with her to inspire girls to play.” - Andrea Perez, Nike’s general manager of soccer in North America.
Off the field, Pugh’s representatives at Wasserman have already secured a deal for their client with Nike, and more endorsements are likely to follow as her backroom team seeks to capitalise on her new role as one of the NWSL’s standout draws. But Pugh stands to benefit in other ways, too, not least since the USWNT’s new collective bargaining agreement with US Soccer calls for hers and future generations to earn a much-improved and long-overdue six-figure salary whilst being more heavily promoted throughout a major market where women’s soccer is firmly on the rise. GD