Alex Morgan, Women's Soccer Star, Looks Forward To London
Women's soccer star Alex Morgan, named a “cult heroine” by the California Golden Blogs, has scored a whopping 45 goals (107 points), earning her the third-leading record for all-time scorer in California women’s soccer history. The acclaimed forward was a latecomer to the game, starting at the age of 14 – several years after most professional-to-be players begin to hone their skills. But Morgan, 22, a Diamond Bar native, boasts numerous achievements in spite of her short career: she was named All-American in 2010, All-Pac-10 four years, and the first Cal player to be a finalist for the Hermann Trophy, according to Bleacher Report.
Morgan was first recruited by the U-17 Women’s National Team and went on to play at UC Berkeley from 2007 to 2010, during which time she also joined the United States U-20 National Team. She led Cal to the NCAA tournament four times, and became the youngest member of the Senior U.S. Women’s National team in 2009.
The rising star initially competed in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2008, following a severe ligament injury the year before. Morgan's outstanding performance won her an array of esteemed awards, most notably the Silver Ball, which branded her second-best player behind teammate Sydney Leroux. She scored four goals (one of which was voted the best of the tournament and FIFA’s second-best of the year) and, as the third-highest scorer, proudly walked away with the Bronze Shoe.
But her star moment was without doubt the winning goal in a decisive match against Italy, which qualified the American national team for the 2011 FIFA World Cup. Despite being the youngest player on the U.S. roster, her goal in the 82nd minute of the semi-final against France revealed superior skill and gave the USA a 3-1 lead that culminated in victory. She was brought in as a substitute halfway through the final match against Japan, and again proved herself invaluable by scoring the first goal (69’) and assisting another (104’) – ultimately earning the U.S. second place in the Cup.
But Morgan’s accomplishments span well beyond the pitch. She made the 2010 CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District team, graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in political economy a full semester early (all the while playing professionally at the regional and national levels), and was a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention, according to her personal web site.
Like fellow player Hope Solo, she has instantly caught the media’s attention and has been a major contributing factor to the sport’s recent boost in popularity among U.S. audiences (a record number of viewers tuned in to the last World Cup). This was cemented by her appearance in the 2012 Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue in bodypaint alongside two of her teammates – an experience she describes as more intimidating than any final she’s ever played. "I have been playing soccer my entire life," she told Sports Illustrated at the time. "I know how to stay calm and not get too nervous for games. That's why I would have to say posing in bodypaint was a little more intimidating. It was a completely new experience and definitely took some getting used to before I felt comfortable in bodypaint. I had to look in the mirror every five minutes to make sure I actually had a swimsuit on."
Morgan has also accumulated a scandalous number of Facebook marriage proposals following last year’s World Cup. Unfortunately for her suitors, she has been in a long-term relationship with soccer player and college sweetheart Servando Carrasco since her freshman year at Berkeley, so they’ll have to resign to watching her play at the 2012 London Summer Olympics instead.
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