Alex Morgan is introduced during the Send Off ceremony at Pratt & Whitney Stadium on July 05, 2021 in East Hartford, Connecticut.
What Alex Morgan is accomplishing as a soccer mom isn’t anything new to the U.S. women’s national team.
After all, she is the 13th player in team history who has had a child while performing for the best women’s soccer team in the world.
“I’m here representing all the future moms and I’m trying to show that we can do it all as challenging as it is,” Morgan said on “Good Morning America” when the Olympic team was announced on June 23. “You have to figure it out you have to be mom and a professional athlete. There’s a lot of athletes going to Tokyo that are also fellow mom athletes and I’m excited to catch up with them and kind of just represent all the moms, soccer moms united.”
Morgan went through a unique journey with her daughter Charlie Elena and husband, pro soccer player Servando Carrasco, to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. That path included trying to get back into prime shape and enduring the COVID-19 pandemic. When there seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel, Morgan and her family came down with coronavirus in December.
In early 2020, Morgan’s pregnancy kept her out of the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament and the SheBelieves Cup. With Charlie due that May, it did not give Morgan much time to rediscover her world-class form. The pandemic hit, which turned life upside for everyone, forcing the Games to be postponed for a year.
It gave the USWNT, especially its older players such as Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd, a chance to recover from winning the 2019 Women’s World Cup. It gave Morgan an opportunity to regain her fitness that made her one of the most dangerous strikers in the world.
“If the Olympics had already taken place, it would have been an incredible challenge, and I definitely wanted to do my best to be on the field at Tokyo in 2020,” she said earlier this year. “But I knew that honestly some of it really wasn’t up to me. It was up to just how my body was going to recover. ... I’m very happy that I was able to get an extra amount of time.”
It also gave Morgan more time to be with Charlie, who entered the world on May 7, 2020, weighing in at 8 pounds, 5 ounces.
“She made us wait longer than expected, but I should have known she would do it her way and her way only,” Morgan said in an Instagram post at the time.
Morgan, who turned 32 on July 2, is following a USWNT tradition of soccer moms, which was started by Joy Fawcett and continued by the likes of Kate Markgraf, Christie Rampone and Amy Rodriguez over the years.
Like many of her predecessors, Morgan has brought Charlie to games and training sessions.
“I think it’s just so fun to have Charlie around and for her to get used to like having a lot of people around, and different people,” said Morgan, who added that it was important for Charlie “to be just around all these incredible women that are so strong.”
Morgan said USWNT training can be “such an intense environment,” and having a child around “kind of brightens up the room.”
In April, Charlie was allowed to participate in at least one team huddle after training.
“I think it lightens everyone up,” Morgan added. “It’s really fun to be in that position. However, like my life has definitely made a 180.”
Indeed. There are new challenges, such as forgoing rest between training sessions.
“It’s not like, oh, let me lay down and like watch TV and take a nap whether that’s 45 minutes or three hours,” Morgan said. “I’m hanging out with Charlie, the whole time and I’m on her schedule. I absolutely love it. It’s different for sure.”
In December, Morgan and her family contracted COVID.
“I actually had a lot of symptoms from COVID,” she said. “I was fairly sick. We were together for 10, 12, 14 days, just recovering, sleeping as much as we could. I was fighting off a little bit of fever for quite a few days. As I got back and took the right steps to get my body back into shape.”
With COVID behind her, Morgan is ready to participate in her third Olympic Games as the USWNT will try for an unprecedented fifth gold medal in women’s soccer. The U.S. also will try to become the first team to earn the gold after winning the previous Women’s World Cup (2019).
The USA kicks off its group-stage competition against Sweden on July 21, followed by New Zealand on July 24 and Australia on July 27.
“When you have 12 teams in an Olympics in comparison to a World Cup where you have double that amount of teams, I think every single team is going to be difficult,” Morgan told GMA. “But we seem to always find ourselves playing Sweden in every major tournament. ... Last Olympics they actually kicked us out of Rio. So that’s going to be a big game.”
Morgan has competed in plenty of big games. Entering the Games, she has tallied 110 goals in 180 international matches. She has played a vital role on two Women’s World Cup championship sides (2015, 2019) and an Olympic gold-medal squad (2012).
Adding another Olympic gold medal to her collection would be the ultimate reward and culminate a rather unique two years.