DENVER (CBS4) – John Elway, Peyton Manning, Barack Obama are some of the 100 people the City of Denver has honored with a challenge coin, its version of the “key to the city.” Now, two of the youngest stars in women’s soccer can be added to the list.
“I grew up in Colorado playing my whole life. So to come back before the World Cup and play for the U.S. team it’s really cool,” said Mallory Pugh.
“It is my favorite place to be. I want to grow old here. It’s amazing,” said Lindsey Horan. “So, this is just a super cool thing for us because I think any time we’re here with the national team we feel like we’re representing our city and our state.”
Horan grew up in Golden and took the rare step to go to Europe and turn pro instead of attending college. A few years later Pugh, who grew up in Highlands Ranch, would quickly leave college for the opportunity to become a professional.
With Colorado roots, their time together for the national team has allowed them to grow closer together.
“She’s like my little sister,” said Horan. “I think obviously her decision to go pro brought us together because I feel like I could really help her out and just be another person to talk to who has been through everything she has.”
In the offseason, Pugh and Horan now train together in Denver. On Wednesday, the mayor presented them with personalized street signs and challenge coins. Honoring them before a sold-out game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Thursday versus Australia.
The game is a tune-up before this summer’s World Cup.
“I love being home. And just to have a game here before the world cup. It kind of summarizes a full circle for me,” said Pugh. “It’s shaped me to who I am today, and I just love this city so much.”
“Having your friends and family and my youth club at this game. Playing for your country, playing for this city, for this state, that’s cooler than anything else,” said Horan.