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USWNT star Alex Morgan proves she’s here to stay

Alex Morgan was named the player of the tournament after leading the U.S. to the Concacaf title. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

At 33 years old, Alex Morgan is in the best form of her career, shining for both club and country.

Leading the U.S. women’s national team to a Concacaf W Championship title Monday night, Morgan showed why she has been an invaluable member of the squad’s roster for over a decade.

Standing over the penalty spot with the game still deadlocked in the 78th minute, Morgan took a deep breath before clinically burying the shot to put her side up 1-0. With the game on her foot, Morgan delivered.

“She’s a winner,” USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski said of Morgan after the match. “She knows how to win big games. She knows how to perform in big games. She’s done it before. She’s won World Cups, she’s won an Olympics, she’s won big tournaments. That doesn’t come overnight.”

Morgan’s Concacaf Golden Ball performance, however, wasn’t a given, with the veteran striker coming off an eight-month hiatus from the national team.

Making way for new, young talent, Andonovski made it clear that if veterans wanted to be invited back to camp, they would have to deliver in their markets. Morgan did just that, notching a league-leading 11 goals with her NWSL club, the San Diego Wave.

“Getting removed from the national team gave me a reset,” Morgan told ESPN. “At this point in my career, I’m playing soccer because I genuinely love it. And I’m having fun.”

That doesn’t mean the time away was easy for Morgan, with the forward admitting to ESPN that her exclusion from the team’s April camp came as a surprise.

“It was a hard discussion,” she said. “But one of the things I really respect about Vlatko is just his honesty — having those hard conversations is not easy for anybody. I was disappointed, but at the same time, it wasn’t about pointing fingers, it was just: OK, if my name’s not on the roster, now I need to make sure it’s going to be the next time.”

Quieting any remaining naysayers, Morgan’s Concacaf outing shows the star forward isn’t going anywhere, securing her place on the USWNT’s front line ahead of the 2023 World Cup cycle.

And just like any proven winner, Morgan also knows how to celebrate, Tweeting out a series of photos with the Concacaf trophy from Mexico. “Needed to find out myself… estimated 20 margaritas,” Morgan wrote.