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Lynn Williams: Without Alex Morgan, there might be no NWSL

Alex Morgan and Lynn Williams are longtime USWNT teammates and NWSL competitors. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Alex Morgan is more than just a soccer player.

While she remains a star on the field, she also has sought to create change off the field as her career has progressed, for the U.S. women’s national team and for the NWSL.

For example, when her then-Portland Thorns teammate Mana Shim sought to file an abuse complaint against their coach Paul Riley in 2015, Morgan helped her ensure that her voice was heard. After Shim and Sinead Farrelly went public with their allegations in 2021, Morgan continued to serve as an ally and as a voice for change. She also has joined Shim on U.S. Soccer’s new participant safety taskforce to help prevent abuse across all levels of the sport.

Morgan’s latest venture is the Alex Morgan Foundation, which aims to support girls and women both in and outside of soccer.

“I feel like that’s such a testament to the power that you have when you lend your voice or your time to a cause. Whether it was about the league, the anti-harassment policy, now this foundation,” co-host Sam Mewis told Morgan on the latest episode of Snacks. “We know you’re involved in the company Togethxr. Being so involved in equal pay in the lawsuit, like you’re lending your voice and it’s so powerful that these situations get resolved and then you can move on and kind of give that power elsewhere.”

To Williams, Morgan’s power has helped make the NWSL what it is.

“I think that a lot of people see you as like amazing Alex Morgan, amazing goal scorer, beautiful woman, but they don’t necessarily always see all the things that you do behind the scenes,” she said. “Like I don’t think our league has an anti-harassment policy without you, which is incredible. I don’t even know if there is an NWSL without you’ve fought and pushed for that so much.

“So I think that I just wanna take this time to say thank you so much for using your platform and realizing that you have it and saying, you know what, I’m gonna help. Obviously you do all the cool stuff. You still have to do the stuff to get this platform, but you’ve really decided to put people who don’t have a voice in front of you sometimes. So I think that’s very cool.”

For Morgan, it’s “worth it” to be a part of what she views are “really important causes.” And part of that, she says, is in due part to what she has learned during her time on the USWNT.

“It is so worth it and I feel like the national team, like growing up on it kind of, has really taught you to use your voice and just be confident in what you speak, in what you say and standing behind that,” she said. “And I feel like I feel even more confident off of the field than on the soccer field because of the teammates that I’ve been surrounded by.

“I think that that’s definitely a positive thing from being on the team for so long because a lot of times it feels like you’re just in this never ending like groundhog day or vicious cycle that you feel like you’re in a pressure cooker all the time. And it’s nice to know that there’s a lot of positives that come out of it.”

Both Mewis and Williams have experienced that energy themselves. Once they had the opportunity to play the USWNT “a couple times, you realize it’s not just about soccer,” Williams said.

“There’s so many women who are like, no, we’re gonna be badass on the field, but we’re also gonna fight for all of these things that we need and deserve and have to fight for,” said Williams. “And so you have this sense of, okay, I’m more confident as a human being, I’m more confident as a woman, but now I need to also fight for all these things.”