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Kicking It With Soccer Champion and Role Model Alex Morgan

Alex Morgan
Alex Morgan
Photos: Courtesy of Taylor Baucom, The Players' Tribune for Nike

Alex Morgan has helped lead the U.S. Women’s National Team to World Cup victories and Olympic gold medals, and in the process has inspired the next generation of female athletes and professionals. We talked with her about her rise to American soccer glory and what motivates her every day.

Mediaplanet: How do you manage the pressure of being such a well-known role model for young women?

Alex Morgan: I honestly do not feel any pressure to be a role model. For me, it is an opportunity and something I was able to benefit from because of the women that paved the way before me. I try to emulate the grace, power, and undeterred confidence of so many former [U.S. Women’s] National Team players.

There are so many amazing women out there who inspired me and empowered me to become who I am today that when I think of the younger generation, I am so excited at what they can possibly achieve in the future. It is so humbling to think that my actions today can encourage young girls everywhere to follow their passion and grow up to become incredible athletes.

Was there ever a point where you considered a career outside of sports?

I have always loved soccer and it is my absolute passion. I even wrote it down on a sticky note for my mom when I was seven, telling her I was going to be a professional soccer player. At the time, I had never even seen the women’s national team play but I definitely wanted to play at that level. 

When I embarked on this journey, I knew there would be tough times, injuries, and other setbacks, but in the end everything that my team has accomplished together makes it worth it. And I feel so fortunate that my career has given me the ability to explore other opportunities across different fields — from working on my book series, “The Kicks,” to my film, ”Alex and Me” for Nickelodeon — I’m grateful that I’ve been able to explore so many unique avenues.

Were people ever discouraging of your passion for soccer?

Of course. There will always be people who cause various setbacks no matter what career path you choose. Luckily, I have channeled those disappointments and used them to drive me forward. Instead of letting obstacles hold me back, they motivate me to think bigger, to set my goals higher, to work harder. I also have such a strong support system behind me, and friends and family continue to encourage me, especially through the difficult times.

What kept you in the game despite these obstacles?

First, I love the game and my teammates. The game is bigger than me and it is important to know that we play for something else, other than ourselves. I also know that there is always something new to accomplish and that it’s important to always set new goals for myself on the field and off of it. Though it’s important to sometimes take a step back and admire all you’ve achieved, I think it’s equally important to know, as a woman and an athlete, there’s always something more we can do. 

What are your hopes for future generations of female athletes?

I hope that future generations of female athletes are confident in what they’re doing and have the support they need to dream big regardless of what obstacles are in the way. When I was seven, I didn’t even know that professional soccer was a possibility, and I didn’t let that deter me.

I knew what I wanted and I decided to go for it. I want to help influence female athletes to reach for more and feel empowered by those who came before you. We need to see more progress made across the sports landscape, and we hope to inspire the next generation to provide a healthier and more equal arena for women in sports to succeed.

What has been the most rewarding part of being such a high-visibility athlete?

The ability to be a role model for young girls and women is so incredibly rewarding. I love the idea that someone can watch us play or see how we lead our lives, and take inspiration from that to achieve something they believe in. Being in the spotlight has made me aware of how important it is to be a leader and take that job seriously. Knowing that others coming up after me are finding strength in my story makes me work harder every day toward bigger goals.

This article was adapted from Modern Wellness Guide.

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