Under-17 team to the U-20s — bypassing the 18 and 19 age groups — before quickly being spotted by coach Jill Ellis.
She scored in that match and was the youngest player to debut for the U.S.
She was born in 1998, which means she wasn't old enough to watch the famous "99ers" team that won the Women's World Cup in 1999 and has so often been cited as an influence for young players.
Pugh's reaction to the story: "Who is 'N Sync?" "I knew the song 'Bye, Bye, Bye' but I thought it was sung by the Backstreet Boys," Pugh later told FOX Soccer, recalling the incident.
Merritt Paulson, the owner of the Thorns, has been open about the club's interest on social media and, as recently as Tuesday, he responded to a fan on Twitter saying he supported Pugh's decision to go to college and added, "She is really good." Back in January, he told reporters on Twitter he hoped she would change her mind — he later deleted the tweets as he usually does after conversations with fans and reporters.