Alex Morgan is ready for what she thinks will be “the best World Cup that there’s ever been.”
In a conversation with ESPN FC, Morgan talked about what she’s had to endure being on the team since 2010 and how she’s seen the game change over the years. Morgan was recently named USWNT co-captain alongside Lindsey Horan, as the team seeks its third-straight World Cup title starting later this month.
“It means a lot, just being able to endure being on this team for 13 plus years — it’s hard, it’s challenging,” Morgan said about her career with the national team. “It really tests you mentally, physically. And to be alongside Kelley [O’Hara] and [Megan Rapinoe], this is our fourth, we wanna go all the way.
“It takes everything out of you. So to get to this moment now, I want to be able to enjoy this World Cup and enjoy every moment, knowing that I just worked so hard and sacrificed so much to get here.”
Morgan also put this summer’s tournament in the context of women’s soccer historically. From the increased visibility of the USWNT, to other national teams’ fights for equal pay, she believes this World Cup will represent how far the game has come — and how far it still has to go.
“I think just the amount of eyes on this team has just been so much more than you know [2011, 2015 and 2019],” she said. “It’s steadily just gone up and up. I think that the NWSL has helped with that. I think just the fight that we had for equal pay starting in 2016 until now, and advocating for other teams as well as they fight for equal pay and equal working conditions, we’re at a different spot now than we’ve ever been on this team.
“And going into this World Cup, I think it’s going to be not only the most competitive World Cup, but it’s going to be the most-watched World Cup, the most-attended World Cup. It will be the best World Cup that there’s ever been.”
Morgan, the most-capped player and leading goal scorer on the current USWNT roster, will enter this World Cup with at least one first.
She gave birth to daughter Charlie in 2020, one year after winning her second World Cup, and has gone on a unique journey as Charlie has grown up within the national team ranks. While Morgan has set the record for most goals scored by a USWNT mom, and others have joined her in the “mom club” (Julie Ertz and Crystal Dunn will both be bringing their children to the World Cup), being in this position still gives the veteran forward a new perspective.
“Going into this World Cup, I just feel way more at peace with where I am and just a sense of calmness more than the previous World Cups,” Morgan said. “I think that [being a parent has] really helped me, just knowing that I have my daughter to look up to so many incredible women in this environment.
“Everyone really loves having the kids around because we’re so ultra-focused on all the small details. We’re analyzing every little thing. And so just to have the kids around … it brings a little more happiness and lightheartedness into an environment that is so pressure filled.”