Alex Morgan is only 24 years old, but already the young U.S. women's national team star has ascended to the top of her sport, winning almost everything there is to win in women's soccer. Take a look at Morgan's meotoric rise from promising talent to world-wide superstar.
Bursting onto the scene, 2008
As part of the USA’s Under-20 Women’s World Cup squad, Morgan introduced herself to the world, scoring four goals in the tournament and receiving the Bronze Boot and Silver Ball – as second-best player of the tournament— in the process (teammate Sydney Leroux edged Morgan out for both awards). The last of Morgan’s goals was a stunning game-winner in the gold-medal match against North Korea. The goal would later be named FIFA’s second-best goal of 2008!
Breaking through, 2010
In September of 2010, the U.S. women faced Italy in a crucial two-legged playoff for a spot in the 2011 Women’s World Cup. The first leg, in Italy, was approaching the final whistle as both teams remained dead-locked with no score. Then Alex Morgan showed up. Coming on as a substitute in the 86th minute, Morgan scored in the fourth minute of injury time to hand the United States a crucial 1–0 advantage in the tie. The U.S. would win the return leg by the same score to head to the World Cup.
She's the "one," 2011
The Western New York Flash made Alex Morgan the Number 1 pick of the 2011 WPS draft after leading her University of California-Berkeley team in goals each of her four years at school. Morgan ranks third all-time in goals scored (45) and points (107) for the Golden Bears. Though the WPS folded just a year later, Morgan gave the Flash all they could’ve hoped for, contributing four goals in 13 games to help the Flash win the last ever WPS championship.
Olympic champion, 2012
Just a year after breaking into the US Women’s World Cup squad as a 22-year-old, Morgan stepped into a leading role in 2012. After going on an epic goal-scoring tear in the build-up to the Olympics – scoring 14 goals in a 12-game stretch - Morgan followed it up with a tremendous Olympics, scoring three goals and adding four assists, three of which were on game-winners. In the semifinal against Canada, Morgan scored a late winner in the 123rd minute, sending the U.S to a final rematch with Japan. There, Morgan assisted on one of the Americans’ goals as the U.S. won the Olympics for the fourth time.
World Cup heroics, 2011
Morgan was not yet seasoned enough to warrant a starting spot on the US Women’s World Cup squad in 2011, but her impact was palpable. In the World Cup final against Japan, Morgan scored the opening goal after coming on as a halftime substitute, and later assisted on Abby Wambach’s header in extra time that gave the U.S. the lead once more. Unfortunately for her and the team, Japan would later prevail in a shootout, but Morgan’s epic performance made her the first player to ever record a goal and an assist in a World Cup final. It was Morgan’s official coming-out party on the international scene.
World recognition (2012)
In 2012, Morgan scored a team-high 28 goals and added a whopping 21 assists (also a team-high), joining Mia Hamm as the only American woman to have scored 20 goals and 20 assists in the same calendar year. Morgan also led the U.S. in multi-goal games, with nine. For her efforts, Morgan took home the USSF's Female Athlete of the Year award. She also placed thid in the FIFA Ballon d’Or voting, behind winner Abby Wambach and Marta. Look for Morgan to take over the top spot in the near future.