Alex Morgan has been named to Time’s 2019 list of the 100 most influential people. Mia Hamm wrote the entry for Morgan, which, that dim squealing sound you hear is probably 14-year-old Alex Morgan losing her mind so hard that the sound of it is echoing through time and into the present.
Here’s part of what Hamm said about Morgan in a commemoration of arguably one of the most recognizable faces of the game on the planet by a name that is still synonymous with all of women’s sports, not just soccer, nearly 15 years after her retirement.
She’s fast, strong and fearless. Alex continues to add so much confidence and variety to her game. It should also excite us to know that she’s playing the best soccer of her career, and that this summer she’ll do whatever it takes to help her team defend the World Cup they reclaimed four years ago.
Morgan was included in the “Titans” section with Lebron James, Mo Salah, and Tiger Woods, and it’s worth reflecting on why she is considered a global influence on par with such widely-recognized names.
From an entirely cynical point of view, the Time 100 is a celebrity list the magazine puts out every year to sell issues and get people talking, whether bad or good; yet the very fact that Morgan is being included on such a list is evidence of her cultural cachet at this moment, and the rising profile of women’s soccer in the American cultural landscape. The team has played extremely strong PR hands with their equal pay campaign - whether you agree with them or not, you’ve probably heard of the USWNT suing US Soccer over wage discrimination, and not necessarily limited to people who follow sports news. And Alex Morgan has been a vocal member of that fight, along with, well, her buckets and buckets of goals for the United States coupled with savvy brand deals and her very own family-friendly movie.
In 2019, a Women’s World Cup year, there will be opportunity aplenty for multiple individuals and entities to build off of the rising tide of cultural awareness. The wave is building - hopefully towards a future where we take it as a given that Alex Morgans should be in widespread, everyday conversation.