Greatness is defined as “the quality of being great, distinguished, or eminent.” All three of those characteristics describe newly acquired Orlando Pride forward, Alex Morgan. The prodigious striker has come a long way from her youth to get to where she is now- the face of women’s soccer.
On October 26, 2015 a trade was finalized sending Morgan, who is fresh off of winning the 2015 FIFA World Cup, to the newly formed Orlando Pride. “It feels so great to finally be able to publicize just how excited I am to be in Orlando,” said an exuberant Morgan.
“The ownership group has taken a huge step forward in women’s soccer and the game of football here in America. Bringing a women’s team here is so special for me to be able to have a place to call home for me and my husband…this city has just embraced this sport, and this club. I am really excited to be a part of it.”
Morgan came on to the scene during the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where at 23 years old, she was the youngest player on the United States Roster. However, that did not stop her from scoring two pivotal goals during the tournament. Morgan scored in the second half of the semi-final against France, solidifying the United States birth in the final. In the final against Japan, Morgan tallied a goal and an assist helping lead the United States to a penalty shoot-out, where Japan would come out on top.
With Morgan on the rise in American Soccer, she had the opportunity to make a statement the following summer in the 2012 London Summer Olympics. She did just that. The following quote from NBC’s play by play announcer, Arlo White sums up the impact that Morgan has on American Soccer.
“Wambach with space to the right hand side to Heather O’Reilly. Morgan in the box. Wambach in the box. Here comes the cross…OH IT’S IN!!!!!!!! ALEX MORGAN HAS DONE IT!!!!! NEARLY THIRTY SECONDS TO GO…IT IS 4-3 TO THE UNITED STATES!”
Morgan’s header in the 123rd minute sent the United States to the Gold Medal match in a rematch against Japan. In that match, Morgan would tally another assist to help the United States win the Gold Medal.
Morgan has accomplished quite a lot in her young soccer career. She has won a Gold Medal, World Cup, and was awarded U.S. Female Soccer Athlete of the Year. She was also a finalist for FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year in 2012. She has also scored over 50 times in less than 100 matches for the USWNT. The incredible part of her accomplishments is that she is still only 26 years old — just now entering the prime of her career.
Orlando Pride Head Coach, Tom Sermanni agrees with that statement. “Alex Morgan will be the best striker in the world for some time to come… She is just now getting into her prime.”
While playing for the United States this past weekend against Brazil in the Orlando Citrus Bowl, Morgan gave fans a taste of what she plans to accomplish while wearing a Pride jersey. In the 9th minute of play, midfielder Tobin Heath passed a through ball behind the Brazilian defense where it was picked up by a streaking Morgan. The striker dribbled the ball very patiently in the box and was able to pass the Brazilian goalkeeper, slotting the ball into an empty net.
“Scoring that goal felt great for a couple of reasons,” expressed Morgan. “Mostly because I know we are going to see a lot of those fans in the stadium next season. I wanted to give them a feel for my potential and the fact that I still feel like I haven’t reached that potential. I still feel I have a little bit to grow as a player before I reach my max.”
Now that Morgan is officially a member of Orlando Pride, the soccer star believes that the women’s game and soccer in general will continue to flourish in Central Florida.
“I was excited for the fans to come out in numbers and watch the U.S. vs. Brazil match. There was about 33,000 people and I believe we got a bump in season ticket sales because of it. It is exciting to see the talk around Orlando for the women’s team and the fact that Orlando City did so well last year…now they will have Orlando Pride.”
One thing is for certain. When a team acquires a player that has Morgan’s accomplishments, technical skill, ability, and desire to win, one thing becomes very clear- that team acquired a soccer star who is on her way to becoming a legend.
Welcome to Orlando, Alex.