My Road to the World Cup: Alex Morgan's Journey (So Far)
A relative late comer to Tony DiCicco’s Under-20 Women’s National Team, Alex Morgan has quickly gelled with her teammates both on and off the field. Morgan got off to an impressive start in Chile in what is only her second international tournament – her first was CONCACAF Qualifying in Mexico earlier this year.
Nov. 21, 2008
During her first game on the world stage, Morgan provided the U.S. their first dangerous chance in just the second minute, hitting a hard shot off the far post. She said it was at that moment that her confidence grew and her nerves diminished.
“When the whistle blew to start the game, I was so nervous and excited,” she said. “I couldn’t wait to touch the ball and I wanted to make a good pass. It was such a rush. Then I got that first shot off and I knew I was ready to roll. That really pumped me up.”
Ten minutes into the second half, Morgan gave the U.S. its first goal of the tournament, putting away a hard cross from Sydney Leroux to give her team a lead.
“Coming out of halftime, we just knew we had to raise our intensity level even more,” she said. “We were able to do that and we scored three goals. It felt amazing to have contributed to a win like that.”
Through her journey to Chile, which she calls ‘life changing,’ Morgan has found a second family. Contributing to her new ‘family’s’ success, scoring seven goals so far in 2008—including Wednesday’s game-winner—has proven to be one of the most rewarding things she has ever done.
“I have 19 best friends here and there isn’t anywhere else I’d rather be right now,” said the University of California sophomore. “I was one of the last ones to come onto the team in April and I didn’t know anyone. But (head coach) Tony (DiCicco) is a big proponent of team chemistry and he loves to have a team that’s like a family.”
Her ‘first’ family - her parents, older sister and brother-in-law and even her best friend- have come all the way to Chile to support her. Though she can’t spend as much time with them as she’d like, Morgan knows how lucky she is to have them here for support.
“My dad is here, my sister, her husband and my best friend are here, too, and my mom is coming tomorrow before the game,” she said. “They’re all here for the first three games. I didn’t get to talk to them for a while after the game, but they were so impressed by the whole team. They’ve been having a great time down here so far and it was an awesome game for them to get to watch.”
Now that the U.S. team is settled into Chile, Morgan and her teammates have become crowd favorites, which she believes will help the Americans in their journey to a championship.
Against Chile’s South American rival, Argentina, on Saturday, the U.S. already had an edge on the otherwise impartial fans, but the players have won locals over with both their play and their personality.
“Our team has been able to adjust very easily to this environment because everyone is so friendly,” said Morgan. “After the game, the papers said that we had won the fans in Chillan over. It’s great to have fans this far away from home.”