Summer 2024

Mallory Swanson after suffering serious knee injury with USWNT: 'God is always good'

Everything was coming together nicely for Mallory Swanson (née Pugh). New husband Dansby Swanson had joined her in Chicago, signing with the Cubs as a free agent in the offseason. She was also playing the best soccer of her career, scoring eight goals in six games for the U.S. women’s national team and being named a finalist for the National Women’s Soccer League MVP award for the 2022 season.

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It was all setting the stage for this summer’s Women’s World Cup — until she tore her patella tendon playing with the national team Saturday. No timeline has been given for her recovery, but every indication is that she will not be back in time for the game’s biggest tournament, which starts July 20 in Australia and New Zealand. She will also miss most, if not all, of the NWSL season that just got underway.

Mallory announced in an Instagram post on Tuesday that she’d undergone surgery.

“This is hard,” she wrote. “I’m in shock and don’t have much to say other than, thank you to everyone for the messages. I feel the love and prayers, and holding them close to my heart. Surgery this morning was a success. I’m thankful for my trainers, doctors, coaches, and teammates for their help throughout this process.”

She ended her post on a hopeful note, declaring that God is still in control.

“The beauty out of all of this, is that God is always good,” she said. “He’s got me and always has.”


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A post shared by Mallory Pugh Swanson (@malpugh)

Dansby took Mallory to the hospital for the surgery and then had four hits in four at-bats for the Cubs before removing himself from the game early due to the physical and emotional toll the day had taken on him. After the game, he talked about the pain and frustration the couple is experiencing as well as the hope they have because of their shared faith.

“She’s all right,” Dansby said of Mallory. “Everybody knows it’s a pretty tough and heartbreaking situation. I’m heartbroken for her, just a lot of tears and sadness. Two things can be true at the same time: We can be sad and upset, but we can also understand God’s bigger picture and plans. We’ll get through it together.”

The couple has made sure God is at the center of their relationship. They told People after their December wedding that they were excited about being able to “impact God’s Kingdom together.”

Mallory said in an interview for the Summer 2022 edition of Sports Spectrum Magazine that she grew up going to church. Her decision to turn professional instead of playing at UCLA was the point where she feels her faith really started to deepen.

She grew even closer to God in 2021, a year that also included injuries and missing a major tournament. That time it was the Tokyo Olympics, and the trials she endured led to significant spiritual growth.

“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,” Mallory told Sports Spectrum. “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.”

She will lean on her faith in Christ again as she recovers from this most recent injury and works to get back on the field.

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