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Morgan Brian

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Morgan Brian's Story - One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories.

At 22, Morgan Brian is the youngest player on the USA’s 2015 Women’s World Cup Team and has starred at the youth National Teams level for some time, helping the USA win the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup. But it wasn’t always that way. As an under-sized youth player in Georgia and Florida, she earned the nickname “Plankton” and was cut from the Olympic Development Program team. Despite hitting some obstacles along the way, with hard work, self-belief, ambitious goal-setting and inspirational guidance from a coach, she made herself into one of the best young players in the world.

#USWNT Hits up Good Morning America, Meets Ed Sheeran

The U.S. Women’s National Team was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday morning along with Grammy nominated artist, Ed Sheeran.

The team traveled by ferry to New York City’s Central Park before getting to meet the British pop star and chat with GMA hosts, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Lara Spencer, Ginger Zee and Amy Robach.

HIGHLIGHTS: WNT Turns on Second-Half Style in 5-1 Romp over Mexico

Sydney Leroux and Abby Wambach led the way as the U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Mexico 5-1 in the second of its three-game Send-Off Series matches ahead of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Leroux, Wambach Power USA to 5-1 Send-Off Series Victory against Mexico

CARSON, CALIFORNIA (May 17, 2015) – Sydney Leroux and Abby Wambach led the way as the U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Mexico 5-1 in the second of its three-game Send-Off Series matches ahead of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Before a sellout crowd of 27,000, the largest-ever for the WNT at StubHub Center, the U.S. outshot Mexico 12-4 in the first half and put eight shots on goal while producing a number of close opportunities that required all manner of blocks and saves from the Mexico defense and goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago (five first-half saves), who kept things close with a fine performance.

After the U.S. broke through midway through the opening frame, Mexico struck back late in the first half as the teams entered the break knotted 1-1. But the USA turned on the style in the second half with four unanswered goals to put the match out of sight.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA- Sydney Leroux (Megan Rapinoe), 28th minute: 
Sydney Leroux made a perfectly-timed run onto a Megan Rapinoe through-ball that sliced through Mexico’s defense. From the left side, Leroux found herself one-on-one with goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago and made a touch with the outside of her left foot to dart around the keeper. Then from a difficult angle, Leroux blasted a left-footed shot across the goalmouth into the far side netting. USA 1, MEX 0 (SEE GOAL)

MEX- Ariana Calderon (Bianca Sierra), 39th minute: From a free kick, Bianca Sierra bent a long, curling ball in from the left. Hope Solo went out to punch it clear, but Ariana Calderon was first to ball and headed it in to the vacated net, ending the U.S.’s shutout streak at five games. USA 1, MEX 1 (SEE GOAL)

USA- Lori Chalupny (Abby Wambach), 46th minute: Out of the second-half gate, the U.S. pressured with an immediate attack. Two second-half subs made the goal happen. Abby Wambach was the first to a deflected, rolling ball in the box. She controlled near the post with her back to a pressing ‘keeper and defender. Sensing the defense, Wambach dished it out to a waiting Chalupny, who fired and buried a near-post goal, just out of reach of the diving Santiago. USA 2, MEX 1 (SEE GOAL)

USA- Abby Wambach (penalty kick), 58th minute: Mexico’s Arianna Romero went to clear away a U.S. corner kick, but sent her clearance off her hand to set up a USA penalty kick. Abby Wambach lined up, and blasted a left-footed shot into the left corner of the goal. USA 3, MEX 1 (SEE GOAL)

USA- Sydney Leroux (Morgan Brian), 61st minute: Leroux’s second goal of the night was similar to her first, only this time it came from the right side. Leroux ran onto a Morgan Brian ball and made one right-footed touch to get outside of the closing goalkeeper. With the room the touch created, Leroux finished into the lower left corner of the goal. USA 4, MEX 1 (SEE GOAL)

USA- Abby Wambach (Tobin Heath), 72nd minute: From the left edge of the box, Tobin Heath left her defender behind with a wicked cut, which gave her room to send a cross to Abby Wambach at the back post. Wambach out-jumped a pair of defenders to head home her second goal of the night. USA 5, MEX 1 (FINAL) (SEE GOAL

Key Saves and Defensive Stops: 
MEX- Cecilia Santiago, 10th minute (save):
 Megan Rapinoe played a ball through the middle to Christen Press who completed the one-two by leading Rapinoe with a perfectly-timed pass. Rapinoe, ripped a shot from the center of the box, but Santiago was there to meet her and cut down the angle to make a quick save.

MEX-Alina Garcíamendez and Cecilia Santiago, 14th minute (block and save): In the closing seconds of the 14th minute, the Mexico defense rallied to stand firm and hold off a barrage of close-range U.S. shots. The action began when Morgan Brian brought the ball down the right side and looped a cross to a breaking Christen Press at the back post. Press connected with a header that beat the keeper, but Mexico’s Alina Garcíamendez headed it off the line and away. Garcíamendez’s key stop rolled out to a waiting Sydney Leroux, who took a shot that deflected off a defender to Megan Rapinoe on the left. Rapinoe sent a rocket from five yards out that connected with Santiago’s face and bounced out to Carli Lloyd on the opposite side of the goal. Lloyd then headed back across to Rapinoe, who headed another shot on target, but Santiago had recovered to make the save again, this time holding on to put an end to the U.S. attack.

MEX-Alina Garcíamendez and Cecilia Santiago, 43rd minute (block and save): For the second time in the half, the Mexico goalkeeper and defender rallied to hold off a series of USA shots. Leroux again chased down a ball on the left side, but seeing the defense closing in, cut back and passed off to Lauren Holiday. From 25 yards out Holiday ripped a shot at Santiago, who blocked it. Megan Rapinoe followed the shot and looked to put in the rebound, but Santiago made a diving reaction save to deflect it away again. Morgan Brian ran onto the deflection and fired a shot of her own, but Garcíamendez stepped in front and blocked it aside.

Milestone Watch:

  • The crowd of 27,000 was the largest in WNT history when playing in Carson.
  • Abby Wambach widened the gap as the world’s all-time leading goal-scorer with her 181st and 182nd international goals. Wambach is the team’s leading goal-scorer in 2015 with five scores.

Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. WNT faces Korea Republic on May 30 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey at 4:30 p.m. ET
Broadcast information: ESPN, WatchESPN and Univision Deportes
Social: Twitter @ussoccer_wntFacebook; Instagram @ussoccer_wnt

Additional Notes:

  • The USA improved its record against rival Mexico to 31-1-1, and the WNT has outscored its North American foe 139-12. The win also extended the WNT’s perfect record against Mexico in Carson to 8-0-0.
  • The U.S. WNT extended its unbeaten streak in Carson to 11 games. The team holds an immaculate 11-0-0 record that dates back to its first matchup at the home of the LA Galaxy back in 2003. The USA has outscored opponents 42-4 in Carson. No team has ever scored more than one goal against the U.S. Women while playing in Carson.
  • Abby Wambach’s pair of goals brought her career scoring total against Mexico to 24 goals. Wambach has scored more goals against Mexico than against any other team. It was her eight multi-goal game against Mexico.
  • Sydney Leroux made her first start of the 2015 season and scored her second and third goals of the year. Her last start came in the WNT’s 3-2 defeat in the 2014 Brasilia International Tournament to host Brazil on Dec. 14, 2014.
  • While the five-game shutout streak for the U.S. has ended; in its last seven games, the U.S. has surrendered just two goals and scored 20.
  • Lori Chalupny’s goal was her second of the year, with her first coming in the U.S’s 4-0 win over New Zealand on April 4.
  • Midfielder Tobin Heath, who missed last game with a tender hamstring, returned today and recorded an assist.

- U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report - 

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: May 17, 2015
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: StubHub Center; Carson, California
Kickoff: 6 p.m. PT
Attendance: 27,000 (sellout)
Weather: 61 degrees, partly cloudy 

Scoring Summary:                1          2          F
USA                                        1          4          5
MEX                                       1          0          1 

USA – Sydney Leroux (Megan Rapinoe)      28th minute
MEX – Ariana Calderon (Bianca Sierra)        39
USA – Lori Chalupny (Abby Wambach)       46
USA – Abby Wambach (penalty kick)           58
USA – Sydney Leroux (Morgan Brian)         61
USA – Abby Wambach (Tobin Heath)          72 

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger (5-Kelley O’Hara, 70), 19-Julie Johnston (3-Christie Rampone, 46), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (6-Whitney Engen, 70), 22-Meghan Klingenberg (16-Lori Chalupny, 46); 14-Morgan Brian, 12-Lauren Holiday (17-Tobin Heath, 62), 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.); 15-Megan Rapinoe; 2-Sydney Leroux, 23-Christen Press (20-Abby Wambach, 46)
Subs Not Used: 7-Shannon Boxx, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 13-Alex Morgan, 18-Ashley Harris, 21-Alyssa Naeher
Head coach: Jill Ellis

MEX: 1-Cecilia Santiago; 2-Kenti Robles, 3-Christina Murillo (6-Jennifer Ruiz, 64), 4-Alina Garcíamendez, 15-Bianca Sierra; 7-Nayeli Rangel, 11-Monica Ocampo, 14-Arianna Romero, 17-Veronica Perez; 9-Veronica Charlyn Corral, 21-Ariana Calderon (19-Renae Cuellar, 42 (16-Monica Alvarado, 69))
Subs Not Used: 12-Pamela Tajonar, 23-Mariana Ladron; 5-Valeria Miranda, 13-Greta Espinoza, 10-Stephany Mayor, 18-Amanda Perez, 8-Teresa Noyola, 22-Fabiola Ibarra, 24-Maria Sanchez; 20-Yadira Toraya
Head coach: Leonardo Cuellar 

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 29 / 6
Shots on Goal: 13 / 4
Saves: 3 / 6
Corner Kicks: 7 / 1
Fouls: 9 / 5
Offside: 1 / 0 

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee: Marianela Araya Cruz (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Katherine Daniela Jimenez (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Nelly Odette Alvarado Quiros (CRC)
4th Official: Maurees Skeete (GUY) 

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Sydney Leroux

WNT Send-Off Series Begins in Sunny San Jose

The U.S. WNT defeated the Republic of Ireland in front of a sold-out crowd on a glorious Bay Area afternoon, that just happened to be Mother's Day.
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THE ISLAND INFLUENCE
Morgan Brian

Morgan Brian grew up on St. Simon’s Island, a tiny barrier island off the coast of Georgia, three miles wide, 11 miles long, with a huge soccer culture. “Everybody played,” says Morgan.

In spite of the soccer culture, the tiny island population meant there just weren’t enough players, so Morgan played up four or five years. “I was nine; we were playing with kids that were 14. I hadn’t grown yet.” Her tiny size earned her the nickname ‘Plankton;’ the character from her then favorite show, SpongeBob SquarePants. “He’s the evil one, but I like to think they just called me that because I was small…but, well, I was really competitive, and I guess I’d get mad at people…so,” Morgan laughs, “maybe that was a part of it.” Even though she’s now taller than most of her friends, they still to this day call her ‘Plankton.’

REJECTION
Eventually Morgan got to the age where she had to go play for a club team off the island. Everyone on the island played club with teams that were far away, making the long car rides a couple times a week, playing pickup with the other island kids the rest of the time.

Her entire club team tried out for the Florida State ODP team (which St. Simon’s Island fed into). Florida had an ‘A,’ ‘B,’ and ‘C’ team, so every player on her team made at least one of those rosters – except for Brian.

“My club coach was like, ‘You can either pout about it or use it as motivation,” says Morgan. “And in retrospect, it was the best thing that ever happened to me.” Morgan started training constantly and devoted all her time to playing. The next year she made the ‘A’ roster state team, and then she made the regional team, and then she made the National Team. “I couldn’t believe it,” says Brian.
Morgan Brian

LONGSHOT GOALS
Morgan’s coach had his players each fill out a goal sheet, what they wanted to work on now, and what they wanted long term. “I think I wrote the least-aspirational goals on the team; they were just not very lofty because ever since I didn’t make that ODP team, I just didn’t think I was very good,” says Brian.

One of her goals was “start for my club team”; Morgan’s coach pulled her aside and said, “What are you doing? You should put, be on the Women’s National Team.” And Brian was like, ‘You’re a psycho. That’s not within reach.’ He made me put it and I just wrote it off to the side and I looked at him and said, ‘You’re crazy.’

The 22-year-old is now the youngest member of the Women’s National Team headed to this summer’s FIFA World Cup in Canada. 

U.S. National Teams: A rising star in central midfield for the WNT, Brian has shown the tremendous skill that made her one of the USA’s best youth national team players of the recent generation and she is already pushing for increased playing time in a deep and talented U.S. midfield.

2015: Named to the 2015 U.S. FIFA Women's World Cup roster, her first World Cup selection ... Has played in all nine matches for the USA, starting seven so far this year... Scored her first goal of 2015 during a 4-0 win against New Zealand in St. Louis on April 4...Helped the USA to its 10th Algarve Cup title providing a strong presence in center midfield throughout the tournament... 2014: Earned 16 caps to the National Team while also leading her college team at UVA to the NCAA championship game … Was named the U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year … Played in every international tournament in which the WNT participated in 2014, including the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship where she helped the USA qualify for the 2015 Women’s World Cup … Played in three games during qualifying, starting one, and scored one goal with one assist … 2013: Earned first three senior team caps in 2013 as the youngest player on the WNT … Her first call-up to the full National Team came during the USA’s June friendlies against the Korea Republic … She earned her first cap on June 15 against Korea, entering the game in the 77th minute for Lauren Cheney at Foxboro Stadium … Scored her first goal in her second cap, finishing the scoring in a 7-0 victory vs. Mexico at RFK Stadium … Youth National Teams:  Most recently played with the U.S. Under-23 WNT in 2013 … A key member of the U.S. team that won the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan … Started all six games in the tournament and played all but 18 minutes … She scored the first goal in the 2-0 victory vs. Nigeria in the semifinal … Finished her U-20 career with 21 caps and four goals … A member of the team that won the 2012 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship to earned a berth to Japan … Played in four games in qualifying and totaled 337 minutes … Had one goal and one assist during qualifying, scoring in the 4-0 semifinal victory over Mexico that earned the USA its berth to the Women’s World Cup … Scored a goal against Switzerland in La Manga, Spain in February of 2012 … The youngest player named to the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup roster, she played in one match against Paraguay, going all 90 minutes as a defender… She was also the youngest player on the CONCACAF Qualifying team, seeing action in three matches and scoring against El Salvador … Captained the U.S. U-17 team during the 2009-10 cycle and had seven goals at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament as the USA out-scored its opponents 38-0 but failed to qualify for the U-17 Women’s World Cup after falling in a penalty kick shootout during the semifinal … Finished her U-17 international career with 22 caps and 15 goals … Called up from the U.S. U-15s to the U-17s in 2008 … Participated in the U.S. Soccer Under-14 I.D. Camp in 2007 and played some matches with the U-14s that year as well. First cap: June 15, 2012, vs. Korea Republic. First goal: Sept. 3, 2013 vs. Mexico.


Professional / Club2015: Taken #1 overall by the Houston Dash in the NWSL Draft … Youth club: Played for the Ponte Vedra Storm from U-12 to U-19 … Won state championships at the U-18 and U-17 levels with the Storm and was the national runner-up as U-17s … Storm won the U-19 national title in the summer of 2012.



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