Lindsey Horan and Mallory Pugh have spent countless hours playing soccer in Colorado, but it's possible that none of those appearances will be as important as their next one.
Horan, who grew up in Golden, and Pugh, from Highlands Ranch, are part of the U.S. Women's National Team, which will face New Zealand Friday night in a friendly at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City. In what's normally a down time in women's soccer, the match is part of an ambitious training schedule that will eventually lead up to the 2019 World Cup in France.
Both Horan, who has played professionally in that country, and Pugh, who was a member of the 2016 U.S. Women's Olympic Team, hope to be part of the World Cup squad. Coach Jill Ellis says matches like Friday's are a crucial part of the evaluation process for deciding which players will represent the U.S. Horan and Pugh may be accustomed to dealing with pressure -- both bypassed college soccer to sign professional contracts. The pair spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner about their careers.