Who Is Alex Morgan?
Alex Morgan became the youngest member of the U.S. women's national soccer team in 2009, and was the first overall pick in the 2011 Women's Professional Soccer draft. At the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, Morgan won her first Olympic gold medal by helping the U.S. women defeat Japan. Three years later, she was a leader on the team that again defeated Japan to win the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Alex Morgan was a multisport athlete growing up, but she didn't start playing organized soccer until she was 14 years old. She attended Diamond Bar High School, where she was a three-time all-league pick and was named an NSCAA All-American. After high school, Morgan went to the University of California at Berkeley, where she led the Golden Bears to the NCAA Tournament in each of her four years (and to the second round twice). In 2008, she helped the United States get to the championship of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, scoring the winning goal in the final against North Korea—named the Goal of the Tournament and second-best Goal of the Year by FIFA.
At the end of her Berkeley career, in the fall of 2010, she was tied for third on the school’s list of all-time scorers, with 45 goals, and she was third in points, with 107. (She missed numerous Berkeley games in her senior year to play games for the national team, or she likely would have finished at No. 1 on both lists.) She was named to the All-Pac-10 team four times and was a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention selection.
Professional and International Stardom
In 2011, Alex Morgan was drafted first overall in the 2011 Women's Professional Soccer draft by the Western New York Flash. That same year, she was on the U.S. women's national team in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup. The youngest player on the team, she scored her first World Cup goal in the semifinal match against France, and the team went on to the finals (only to lose to Japan in a shootout).
Once the WPS league suspended play at the end of the 2011 season, Morgan joined the Seattle Sounders Women of the United Soccer Leagues W-League, along with other U.S. national team members like Hope Solo, Sydney Leroux, Stephanie Cox and Megan Rapinoe. She later joined the Portland Thorns FC of the National Women's Soccer League.
In 2012, Morgan landed a spot on the U.S. Olympic women's soccer team. At the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, held in London, Morgan won her first Olympic medal, a gold, with the American team. The team beat Japan, 2-1, in a revengeful match watched by nearly 80,300—the largest soccer crowd in Olympics history. The victory marked the fourth of five Olympic titles won by the American women's squad since women's soccer was first included in the Olympics (1996).
Hampered by a knee injury during the spring of 2015, Morgan was not at full strength by the start of the FIFA World Cup in June. However, the star forward returned to the starting lineup by the close of group play, and went on to help the U.S. women claim their first World Cup title since 1999.
In March 2016, Morgan joined several of her teammates to file a complaint of wage discrimination against U.S. Soccer, citing inequities between its compensation for players on the women's and men's national teams.
That summer, Morgan and her teammates were favored to win the gold medal at the Olympic Games. In the quarterfinals vs. Sweden, she scored a crucial game-tying goal in the 78th minute. However, the Americans wound up losing the match on penalty kicks, marking their earliest exit from Olympic competition in the team's history.
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