After nearly a decade traveling the country and the world for her professional career, Alex Morgan returns home to Southern California.
Morgan joins the San Diego Wave, who will begin playing in the National Women’s Soccer League next season.
âI think something that really excites me is that I’ve made a long term commitment to this club,â she told The Associated Press. âI see myself being in San Diego throughout my playing career. I see my family moving to San Diego.
The addition of Wave and Angel City FC in Los Angeles will take the league to 12 teams in its 10th season. Former Manchester United manager Casey Stoney will lead San Diego in his freshman year.
Morgan was an early player in the NWSL when the league launched in 2013. She spent three seasons with the Portland Thorns before joining the Orlando Pride expansion. She also had stints in Europe with Lyon and Tottenham Hotspur – and she took time off for the birth of her daughter, Charlie.
Morgan, who is from San Dimas, California, is feeling a little bittersweet about leaving Pride, which has failed to make the playoffs this season for the third time in a row.
âI absolutely loved my time in Orlando, it lasted six years, more or less long term, with a pregnancy and a few other obstacles, world championships and things like that. But it was an amazing race and I just wish we could have had more of an impact on the pitch, “she said.” I wish I could have left with more of a smile on my face knowing we had to accomplish what we set out to do In first year.”
The exchange that sends Morgan to San Diego reunites her with former national team coach Jill Ellis, who is Wave president.
“It is an incredibly special time for our club, our fans and our community to welcome Alex and his family to San Diego. He is an extraordinary person, a great talent and a leader on and off the field,” said said Ellis.
Ellis led the United States to back-to-back World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019. Morgan was a fixture on both teams.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Athletic first reported that a deal was underway earlier this month. The NWSL trade window doesn’t open until Friday, the day after the league expansion draft.
“Pride is extremely grateful for the professionalism and commitment that Alex has shown to the club over the past six seasons, and respects his desire to play closer to his family at this point in his career,” said the pride in a press release. âWith the NWSL’s trading window currently closed, Pride will continue to follow club and league policies, and make an official announcement when the transaction is official and the timing is appropriate. “
Morgan first gained attention at the 2011 World Cup as the youngest player to make the USA team. She scored in the final, which Japan won on penalties. At the 2019 World Cup in France, she scored five goals in the opener against Thailand. The United States won the title with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands.
She has 115 career goals in 190 appearances for the United States.
In an interview ahead of San Diego’s announcement, Morgan touched on the future of the league, which has been turned upside down this season.
Former players Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim have presented allegations of sexual harassment and coercion against longtime league coach Paul Riley.
The fallout has been dramatic. Riley was immediately fired by North Carolina Courage, NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird resigned, and the league and US Soccer ordered outside inquiries.
Riley was one of five NWSL coaches who have been sacked this season due to misconduct reports. Washington Spirit coach Richie Burke was fired for violating the league’s harassment policy after former player Kaiya McCullough made allegations of abusive behavior.
OL coach Reign Farid Benstiti was fired this summer after a training incident, Racing Louisville’s Christy Holly was fired for just cause and Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames resigned on last month just as allegations of inappropriate behavior came out.
Morgan said the NWSL must be held responsible for leaving misconduct uncontrolled.
âI think there were just a lot of missed stages, a lot of cut corners and you have to look back and say to yourself, ‘We can’t do this to get ahead. We cannot cut corners. And so that’s what I think the league has to tackle to move forward, they have to look each other in the eye and really ask for the confidence of the players by showing that they can do it the right way, âhe said. Morgan said.
Morgan said a good start would be to strike a collective agreement with the NWSL Players’ Association. Along with player salaries, safety and health, among the issues she would like to see addressed are the NWSL’s long offseason and international breaks so teams don’t get exhausted during team absences. national.
âPart of me is very optimistic because of the proactivity of the players, the simple desire of the players to be heard, to support each other – to really dig in to change this league, and not just make it survive, but s ‘flourish,’ Morgan mentioned. “Part of me isn’t that optimistic about how fast things are going right now.”
One of the strongest voices in the League for Change, Morgan is a strong advocate for amplifying women’s voices. She founded the Togethxr digital platform with fellow athletes Simone Manuel, Sue Bird and Chloe Kim, to tell women’s stories.
“I know right now I want to make sure I’m able to develop women’s football, I’m able to at least take out the bad apples and make it amazing for the next generation, for my daughter – but also make sure that women don’t have to take a second, third or fourth job along the way. I know I’m very lucky, but I realize that more women are not able to do it, “she said.” I want to make sure that changes. “
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