During the 2011 Women’s World Cup, Alex Morgan was the youngest player on the United States Women’s National Team. Just 21 years old at the time, Morgan scored 2 goals to help the USWNT to the final, where they lost on penalties to Japan.
Alex Morgan has learned from that loss, as well as the other setbacks they’ve had along the way. Now, as a 34-year-old with more than 200 caps of international experience, she enters this Women’s World Cup, her fourth, looking for immortality. To go to four World Cups, going to the final every single time, and winning three of them in a row, is something only two of her teammates will have experienced: Kelley O’Hara and Megan Rapinoe. She doesn’t take it for granted, either. When Vlatko Andonovski called her to officially tell her that she was on the roster, she said, “[it] never gets old” to hear her name being called to join a roster. And pursuing history with this group is really what drives Alex Morgan to continue to compete and score goals.
With 121 international goals, Alex Morgan is second all-time among active players, with only Christine Sinclair ahead of her (and everyone else) with 190. In 2012, she had arguably one of the greatest calendar years in international soccer history, scoring 28 goals for the USWNT and helping the team to an Olympic gold medal. It’s that experience that she brings to the table, but it’s also the goal-scoring binge she’s been on recently for club and country. With 32 goals for three clubs and 14 goals for the USWNT since 2021, Morgan has kept herself relevant by doing what she does best: score and win. Last season in the NWSL, she was the league’s Golden Boot winner for expansion team San Diego Wave, helping them get to the semifinals of the NWSL Playoffs.
The other way that Morgan will have to help this team is through leadership. Andonovski named her a co-captain alongside Lindsey Horan for the World Cup, replacing the injured Becky Sauerbrunn in that role. However, even if Morgan doesn’t have the armband while on the field, she has to be one of the leaders of the offense, to help the rest of the forwards — of which four of them will be competing in their first Women’s World Cup — be ready to handle the pressure of being the two-time defending champions.
With the competition up front for minutes, combined with all the other great players at each position for the USWNT, Morgan is as confident as ever about the prospects of this team. Speaking to The Guardian back in May, Morgan said, “I think that this [USWNT] team is the best we’ve ever had.” That’s bold praise considering the teams that Morgan has been a part of over the years, the many unforgettable moments and the vast number of winner’s medals she has in her trophy case. But she wants more with this group, and she knows that this team has a chance to write some unprecedented pages in the history books.
Morgan is already a household name. She’s been known in the game since she was given the nickname “Baby Horse” by her teammates as a youngster on the team. Now, she’s the veteran on the block, and she wants a new nickname: Three-time Women’s World Cup champion. It would make her an immortal, among the best winners in world soccer history. She wants that legacy, and she wants to attain it with this group of players as their captain.