Mal Pugh continues to thrive away from the USWNT
Pugh led the Red Stars to a 3-1 victory over the Spirit on Sunday.
Chloe Logarzo plays as a midfielder for both the Australian national team and Bristol City of the FA Women’s Super League.
It’s definitely been challenging. I think my thought process behind coming to Bristol was needing to get as many games as possible in before the Olympics. And obviously at the start of the year, which was the end of last season, everything kind of hit. So I guess my plans were kind of overturned. I wasn’t actually meant to be here for as long as I have been, but you know some things don’t always go to plan. I’ve just tried to take it one step at a time, but it’s definitely been challenging having the sort of the season that we had and being in England through lockdowns and being here for a lot longer than I thought I would be.
So the coach is an Australian coach. She has actually watched me play in the W-League back home in Australia. It was just an easy transition for me to head from Australia into what I would say is a style that I would be comfortable with from an Australian coach.
Definitely. Tanya [Helen Oxtoby] has been over here for such a long time now, when I first had my first call with her, I actually had to ask her if she was Australian because the English accent was so strong. But yeah, I also came over because I knew it was going to be a challenge for me. I came knowing that the team was going to get relegated last year or in a position to get relegated. So I think for me personally, I thought it was an individual challenge for me to come over to a club and try and help them not get relegated.
And we were successful last year. I ended up coming over and we won one game before the lockdown happened and the season ended. And that was the crucial point that we needed to stay above getting relegated. And I think that’s still a challenge for me now. The club is doing all that it can, and I’m just working individually on myself and looking forward to the Olympics coming up next year. And I think that the players surrounding me are amazing people, and I’m lucky to have the people that I do around me.
I would say that it’s definitely not as athletic. I think the NWSL is super athletic. Every single person is there at the highest level and competing with professional athletes on and off the field, and I commend the NWSL for that. Here I feel like it’s so brutal. Everyone is just out there and they’ll smash you. And sometimes it is about the physicality, where I think the physicality in the U.S. is different than over here.
It’s hard. It really is hard and there’s some incredible players. Lots of Man City and Chelsea players and such at the top, top level. But it’s definitely physical over here. And then I also think there’s a difference in terms of marking, where the NWSL is just so good. Here, you don’t really hear much about FAWSL games. I know the league is still growing, and this could probably be the best league in the world. It should be. But it’s still so far behind in terms of picking up the bottom half of the teams and pushing them to be better. There’s such a divide between the top and the bottom.
Yeah, I just think it’s been a difficult start for Bristol coming up against really good teams. For us it’s about just finding our stride and having confidence, especially after our first three games against some of the top teams and leaving those games feeling absolutely defeated.
Now it’s about how we pick ourselves up and work together as a team and collaborate to be able to play well against the middle rank and the bottom rank teams, so we can get confidence back in the girls and build from there. It’s just about belief for me.
We are extremely excited to have a national team coach announced. We’ve waited a long time for this, and we’re excited to have someone that’s going to be there for a while for the upcoming Olympics and World Cup cycle. It’s been a long time since we’ve had consistency like this. And I think now having the World Cup at home, we’re just really excited to get the ball rolling and finally be able to get into our endeavors and get ready for the Olympics and get ready for that.
It’s been exciting. We’ve had one Zoom call, and it was nice, just a quick introduction. He told us to just stay focused on our seasons over here as we wait for a time when we can have a camp, which unfortunately we weren’t able to schedule during this last international window due to the current climate.
For me, it’s exciting to be able to play any game in front of your friends and your family, and to make your country proud and to be able to host the World Cup. It’s something that I didn’t think in my lifetime, I’d be able to do at home. I think the Matildas are the most beloved team within Australia, male or female, so on a personal level, I can’t wait for 2023. And as a Matildas team, I think it’s been a long time coming, and it’s going to change the way that sports are perceived within Australia. And I hope that we are able to leave a legacy for young kids within Australia that want to strive to be the best that they can be, whether it’s on the field or off the field, or just being the best at life. Hopefully we are able to inspire just the next generation.
Oh yeah, for sure. It’ll be interesting to see everyone come to Australia. I feel like we’ve gotten so used to flying everywhere that a 12, 24 hour flight seems quick. So it’ll be interesting to see how different teams adapt to flying and adapt to the culture that we have and the climate. I think it will be a great World Cup, honestly. I think Australia is the perfect place to host such an event and yeah, it’s going to be an amazing, amazing time.
I think it’s what we’ve been doing over the last couple of years, honestly. It’s just a slow tug toward getting to the next level and onto the podium. We don’t like making excuses, but we’ve just had an unfortunate run with national team coaches and not being able to have a consistent lead going into a major tournament. Before our last World Cup, we had a new coach appointed, and then two years before that, before our last Olympic campaign, I’m pretty sure we had a new coach.
So it’s just before major tournaments we haven’t really been the most prepared leading into them. I think that we did as good as we possibly could, but I think that there’s one or two things or pieces missing from our puzzle that hopefully we’ll be able to get into place for this World Cup. And I think, honestly, we were so close up in France, and it was just so disheartening to lose on penalties again. But I think we’re so close. We can see it and we’re gripping it. We just need that final piece.
My personal goals are just to be consistent. I kind of say it all the time, but if I’m consistent in my own individual playing style, I think that would help me. But obviously with the Olympics coming up, I would like to be as ready as I possibly can. So, getting myself on the score sheet and getting myself on the fit and small goals like that.
Pugh led the Red Stars to a 3-1 victory over the Spirit on Sunday.
The USWNT's dismal Olympic performance has thrown Andonovski's future with the team into question.
Rodman dazzled despite the Spirit's 3-1 loss to the Red Stars on Sunday.
Sweden is now 5-0-0 in the Olympic tournament.
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