Football and college football analyst
FRISCO, Texas – Alex Morgan stood in front of cameras and reporters and answered all kinds of questions as he always does after games. A crowd of adoring fans, mostly young girls, screamed and cheered in the hope that he would pass by and maybe stop for a photo. The superstar forward had scored the first goal for the U.S. women’s national team in their 2-1 win against Brazil on Wednesday night at Toyota Stadium, which took the Americans’ record to 5-0 in 2023 and earned them a sixth SheBelieves Cup trophy.
But tonight was a big one for Morgan, as her goal seconds before halftime made her the all-time scoring leader as a mother in USWNT history.
Morgan, who gave birth to daughter Charlie in 2020, is the 13th mother to play for the United States and the eighth to mark as a single. Joy Fawcette, a member of the famous 1999 World Cup squad, held the previous record with 13 goals. Other members of this exclusive club include Danielle Fotopoulos (5), Amy Rodriguez (4), Jessica McDonald (2), Kate Markgraf (1), Kristine Lilly (1), and Tina Ellertson (1).
Morgan now sits at the top of the standings and more goals are sure to come at the World Cup this summer.
And while Morgan talked about his goal and the game, Charlie, who will be 3 this year, sat at his feet and played with a styrofoam cup. He had a snack in there, which he finished while Morgan was talking to the media, and proceeded to entertain himself as he tore the thing into little pieces, leaving a U.S. Soccer press officer to pick them up.
“Look at her right now,” Megan Rapinoe said, pointing to her teammate. “She’s in media and she’s a mom, and it’s really amazing to watch. I’m in awe of all three moms on the team and what they’re able to do. I can’t even imagine. It’s really amazing. .
“To be able to do what he’s doing on the field and have a kid and have everything, it’s crazy.”
Morgan has made it her mission to take Charlie to every camp and game she can. He posts pictures of the two of them sitting on the team bus, drinking coffee in the mornings before games and holding hands, or dancing together on the field after the final whistle.
She’s certainly not the first soccer mom to take her kids to a national team camp — American players have been doing it for years. She’s not the only mom on the team right now, either, as Crystal Dunn and Adrianna Franch also had their kids with them during the SheBelieves Cup. It’s important to all of them to have their kids on the road, watching their mom work and “just being around strong women,” Morgan recently told FOX Sports.
When Morgan was honored for winning her 200th game before the U.S. played Canada in Orlando last week, Charlie took part in the ceremony and presented her mother with a rose while wearing a USWNT jersey with the number 200 and “mother” on the back. After every game, Morgan would take Charlie to the field and let her run around, dribble a soccer ball, and catch everything. He would cling to Morgan in the mixed zone, probably not knowing why there were so many unfamiliar faces, phones and cameras. trying to get his mother’s attention. Every so often, she would drop in with a couple of comments after the game.
“Hopefully one day she’ll understand and look back and see pictures of her running on the field and realize that’s not normal at all,” Morgan said Wednesday. That was before Charlie chimed in and said, “Mommy, I had so much fun!”
“He said he’s having a lot of fun,” Morgan repeated. “So I guess he kind of gets it.”
Morgan played in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, which was just over a year after she gave birth. But after the Games, she was left off the USWNT roster for eight months. While there were questions about when he could return, the time away gave Morgan a chance to reset and refocus. He knew he wouldn’t make a list just because of his experience and fame. He had to work at it like everyone else.
“Your place here is never guaranteed,” Morgan said. “So it’s always a challenge, and it’s making sure I do everything I can to be in New Zealand.”
Morgan is back better than ever. She earned her starting spot on the national team and won the 2022 NWSL Golden Boot, scoring 15 goals in 17 games for the San Diego Wave. It was the most goals he had scored in a single season.
Now she’s in top form when the United States will need her most, heading into a World Cup. The Americans hope to make history this summer by winning three straight titles.
“Honestly, it’s very inspiring,” said Mallory Swanson, who scored her seventh goal in five games Wednesday and indirectly assisted on Morgan’s goal. “Obviously I knew Al and looked up to her before I had Charlie, but seeing her as a mother and what motherhood brings, you can just see that and she’s a completely different person.
“I think it’s very inspiring that not only off the field is she a great mom, but on the field she’s still able to do what she’s always done and score goals and basically be Alex Morgan.”
Morgan’s goal came in stoppage time in the first half. Swanson’s shot was blocked, but Morgan grabbed the rebound and ripped a left-footed shot from the top of the box into the back of the net. Morgan almost scored a goal a few minutes earlier, with Brazilian goalkeeper Lorena, but it was ruled offside.
“Having coached Alex for three years now, all I can say is that she is a real winner,” said American coach Vlatko Andonovski. “She is a great leader, and she always comes out when you need her as a player, but also as a mother. She is very inspiring to many women who want to have children and want to come back and play. Obviously, she is not the first one, but what her modeling this and continuing to do it is great.
“And lastly, we like having Charlie and everyone else [kids] in the [USWNT] natural environment. Sometimes it’s busy, but it’s fun.”
Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. He previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of “Strong Like a Woman,” published in the spring of 2022 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @LakenLitman.
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