The Many Morgans
When someone yells “Hey Morgan!” around the U.S. Under-17 Women’s World Cup Team, it can be problematic. In fact, confusion is almost certain to ensue.
That’s because of the 21 players on the U.S. team, four are named Morgan. That’s almost 20% Morgan.
You have team captain Morgan Andrews, defender Morgan Reid, midfielder Morgan Stanton and goalkeeper Morgan Stearns. Morgan was only the 23rd most popular baby name for girls in 1995, the birth year of all four players, but it’s the number-one most popular name at U.S. U-17 WNT practice.
“Sometimes the coaches yell something and I have no clue who they are talking to,” said Morgan Reid. “One time, he was yelling “move up” and Stearns was in goal, Andrews and Stanton were in the midfield and I was at right back. I thought it was me and I moved up and he wasn’t talking to me. That’s not good.”
Often when someone says “Morgan” around the team, at least two or three people will turn their head and say “yes?” which then leads to a clarification of exactly which Morgan’s attention has been requested.
“It has been tough on the field sometimes,” echoed Morgan Stanton, known as Lil’Mo as she’s the shortest of the Morgans at 5-foot-1. “Sometimes coach is talking to Morgan Andrews in the midfield and I take it and apply it but the instructions were really for her so I get a bit messed up. But you have to give me points for being coachable!”
To avoid any further confusion, the four Morgans had a conversation with U.S. head coach Albertin Montoya at one of the team’s first trainings in Cyprus where the team has set up pre-Women’s World Cup training camp. The topic? Sorting out who is going to be called what.
“We’re getting way too confused, coach!” they told him.
After a brief discussion, the final Morgan decoder is as follows:
Morgan Reid will be: Reid
Morgan Stanton will be: Lil’Mo
Morgan Andrews will be: Morgan or Andrews (we guess the captain gets to use her first name)
Morgan Stearns will be: Stearns
“I guess it’s a little easier being a goalkeeper as everyone seems to know when someone is yelling at a goalkeeper,” said Morgan Stearns, who is also known as Stearnsy and Sternsanator on the U.S. team. “But my mom actually told me that she was glad she named me Morgan because that’s one of the names you needed to have to make the World Cup squad.”
(It won’t get any easier for Stearns when she heads to college at Virginia in the fall of 2013. The Cavaliers will have four Morgans on their roster as well).
“For the most part I only respond to Stearns,” said Stearns of her multitude of Morgans coping mechanism. “If someone says Morgan, I won’t even know they are talking to me half the time.”
While they hail from different parts of the country and play different positions – outside back Reid from North Carolina, attacking midfielder Stanton from Colorado, defensive midfielder Andrews from New Hampshire and goalkeepers Stearns from Texas, they all agree they do have a bond of sorts.
“It’s cool having three other girls with the same name,” said Andrews. “Whoever is asking a question may get four different responses, but that just keeps things fun on the team.”
And there is one other positive. If anyone makes a sign saying “Go Morgan!” to cheer them on at a game, all four will think it’s for them.