USWNT star Mallory Swanson wins SheBelieves Cup MVP as she lets God 'take it all'

There was no question who was taking home MVP honors after the U.S. women’s national team beat Brazil 2-1 on Wednesday night to win the SheBelieves Cup for a fourth straight time. The team scored five goals in its three games.

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Four of them came courtesy of Mallory Swanson, formerly Mallory Pugh.

Swanson — who married Chicago Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson in December — scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Canada and the lone goal in a victory against Japan.

She found the back of the net again against Brazil on Wednesday, giving her eight goals in her last six games for the U.S. and breaking the record for the most goals scored by a player in the SheBelieves Cup.

The Chicago Red Stars forward made improving her finishing an emphasis in the offseason, and it’s clearly paying off.

“After last year and last season, I kind of reevaluated my game, and I feel like I was in positions where I had easy shots and there’s finishes that I simply needed to put away,” Swanson said after the Canada game. “During the offseason, I really honed in on that.”

Swanson has not played in a major tournament — World Cup or Olympics — since contributing a goal and an assist in three appearances as the U.S. won the World Cup in 2019. She missed out on the Toyko Olympics through injury and during what she considers the best and most challenging year of her life.

There was a point in 2021 where Swanson wasn’t even sure she wanted to keep playing.


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“I feel like my identity was so wrapped up in soccer, and then when the game is kind of taken away from you, you start questioning,” she said in an interview for the Summer 2022 edition of Sports Spectrum Magazine. “Am I actually supposed to be doing this? And I feel like God, He took that away from me so I could go find Him and that I could have a deeper relationship with Him.”

After the mental and physical struggles Swanson went through in 2021, she adopted an attitude of surrender, putting everything in God’s hands. The result was a career year on the field and growing closer to the Lord off it. Swanson was third in the National Women’s Soccer League with 17 goal involvements during the 2022 regular season and tied for the league lead with six assists.

“One thing I did learn through this whole process of kind of finding myself again on the field, but also the spiritual growth that I’ve had, was just letting God take it all,” she told Sports Spectrum. “Letting Him take it all and whatever He wants me to do, I’m going to do.”

With this summer’s World Cup quickly approaching and the NWSL season starting March 25, there is plenty for Swanson to look forward to. She intentionally tries not to think about the future, though, because that takes her focus off the present.

She knows there are opportunities for her to advance God’s Kingdom right now.

“I feel like, obviously, goals are goals, but I’m really trying to stay present in where He has me and where my feet are placed right now,” she told Sports Spectrum. “I’m like, ‘What’s my mission right now? How can I better serve You and better grow Your Kingdom?’”

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