Alex Morgan: Multi Coloured Life of a Soccer Star

 Alex Morgan: Multi Coloured Life of a Soccer StarAlex Morgan, the soccer star loves cats, she has a pet cat named Brooklyn with six toes on each of its front feet. She loves to do yoga and has a motorcycle license. She graduated in December 2010, a semester early, with a degree in political economy and earlier in 2009 went to study in Madrid Spain. She was selected as 2012 U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year and in the same year won Olympic Gold Medal. She's also known for her famous body paint bikini photo shoot in 2012 Sports: Illustrated, Swimsuit Issue, in which she wore a colorful, patriotic, teeny bikini that was literally painted on. She made it to the list of 12 Sexiest Olympic Women by menshealth.com.

Alexandra Patricia "Alex" Morgan was born on 2nd 1989. She is an American soccer player and Olympic Gold medalist. She is a forward for National Women's Soccer League club Portland Thorns FC and the U.S. Women's National Team. Morgan was drafted number one overall in the 2011 WPS Draft by the Western New York Flash. She was the youngest player on the USA's roster at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup. At the 2012 London Olympics, her game-winning goal in the 123rd minute against Canada was Morgan's team-high 20th in 2012, becoming only the sixth and youngest U.S. player to do so in a single year. Morgan finished 2012 with 28 goals and 21 assists, joining Mia Hamm as the only American women to score 20 goals and 20 assists in the same calendar year, and was named U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year and FIFA World Player of the Year finalist.


Off the field, Morgan has a deal with Simon & Schuster to write a middle-grade book series about four soccer-playing girls entitled The Kicks. The first book in the series, Saving the Team (ISBN 1442485701), debuted at number seven on the The New York Times Best Seller list for Children's Middle Grade in May 2013. The next book, Sabotage Season, is expected to be released in September 2013.

Morgan was born in Diamond Bar, California, the daughter of Pamela S. (née Jeske) and Michael T. Morgan. She was a multisport athlete growing up, but did not begin playing club-team soccer until she was 14, several years later than most players who go on to reach the elite levels of the sport. Within three years she was called into the U-17 and U-20 national team. She attended Diamond Bar High School, where she was a three-time all-league pick and was named an NSCAA All-American.

As a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley, Morgan was the leading scorer. Her last goal of her freshman season came against Stanford in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament, tying the game at 1–1 with less than two minutes left in regulation time and forcing the Cardinal into overtime and then to penalty kicks. Despite continued absences due to U.S. national team commitments (2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup and then the senior team) throughout her collegiate career, she still led the team in scoring and to the NCAA Tournament in each of her four years, advancing to the second round twice.

After being named a candidate for the Hermann Trophy Watch list in her junior year, Morgan became the first California player to ever be named one of the top-three Hermann Trophy finalists. She was also one of four finalists for the Honda Sports Award, given to the best overall candidate in each sport. Morgan is third all-time in goals scored (45) and points (107) for the Golden Bears. She graduated from UC Berkeley one semester early, with a degree in Political Economy.

On January 14, 2011, Morgan was drafted number one overall in the 2011 WPS Draft by the Western New York Flash. She was the first California Golden Bears women's soccer player to be drafted in the first round of Women's Professional Soccer. The club went on to win the regular season title and the WPS Championship title in 2011.

On January 11, 2013, it was announced that Morgan was one of three USWNT players to join the National Women's Soccer League club Portland Thorns FC by way of weighted allocation. Morgan finished the regular season as the team’s point leader, and joint scoring leader (with Christine Sinclair), with eight goals and five assists (21 points). She was named to the NWSL's Best XI Second Team. On August 31, 2013, the club captured the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League championship title.

Due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury that slowed her progress in 2007, Morgan was not called up to train with the United States under-20 women's national soccer team until April 2008. Her first appearance for the U-20s came at the 2008 CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship in Puebla, Mexico, where she scored her first international goal against Cuba.

Morgan was named to the United States U-20 women's national team that competed in the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile, scoring a total of four goals in the tournament against France, Argentina and North Korea. Morgan's fourth goal of the tournament was a match-winner that gave the U.S. a gold medal, which subsequently voted the best goal of the tournament, and later FIFA's second-best goal of the year. Morgan's performance on the field earned her the Bronze Shoe as the tournament's third-highest scorer and the Silver Ball as the tournament's second-best player behind teammate Sydney Leroux.

 Alex Morgan: Multi Coloured Life of a Soccer StarShe has been capped by the senior national team, first appearing as a substitute in a match versus Mexico in March 2010, and scored her first international goal after coming on as a substitute against China, which salvaged a 1–1 draw in October 2010. Her most important goal to date came a month later in a crucial road game against Italy. After entering the match in the 86th minute, she scored in the fourth minute of added time to give the United States a 1–0 victory over Italy in the first leg of a playoff to qualify for the final spot for the Women's World Cup.

Morgan was the youngest player on the U.S. national team that placed second in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup. On July 13, 2011, she scored her first FIFA Women's World Cup goal in the 82nd minute of the semi-final matchup against France, giving the USA a 3–1 lead and ultimately, the victory. She scored the first goal (69') in the FIFA World Cup Final against Japan after coming on as a substitute at the half, as well as assisting on the Abby Wambach header (104') for a goal in extra time. Her performance made her the first player to ever record a goal and an assist in a World Cup final. Morgan finished eighth in the balloting for the 2011 FIFA World Player of the Year.

Morgan didn't become a starter for the U.S. until the fifth game of the year in January, the final of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament. She scored twice and provided two assists to Wambach that day, in a 4–0 win over the Canadian hosts and has become a regular starter ever since. Morgan scored 14 goals in a 12-game stretch from January to late May 2012, including three straight two-goal efforts. She earned her first career hat-trick on March 7, 2012, during a 4–0 victory against Sweden in the third-place game of the Algarve Cup. In June 2012, she was nominated for an ESPY Award as the Best Breakthrough Athlete.

In the opening game of 2012 London Olympics group play, Morgan scored both the equalizer and the goal that sealed the win against France. In the next three Olympic matches, she assisted on the game-winning goal, including two to Wambach.

Morgan scored the winning goal in the Olympic semifinal match against Canada in extra time, sending the United States to the gold medal match against Japan. Her goal came in the 123rd minute, the latest goal ever scored by a member of the U.S. women's team and a FIFA record. The goal continued her propensity for late heroics in the closing stages of matches. Seventeen of her 28 total goals to date have come after the 60th minute. The game-winning goal was Morgan's team-high 20th in 2012, becoming only the sixth and youngest U.S. player to do so in a single year. In the final, a 2–1 win against Japan on August 9, Morgan assisted on a Carli Lloyd header.


She ended the tournament with 3 goals, and a team-high four assists (tied with Megan Rapinoe) and ten points (tied with Rapinoe and Wambach). To celebrate her achievements, she was honored at her previous high school, Diamond Bar High School, and #13 was retired. In 2012, Morgan led the U.S. in goals (28), multi-goal games (9), assists (21) and points (77). Her calendar year goals, assists, and points totals are the third-best, tied second-best (one tally shy of record), and second-best, respectively, in U.S. WNT history. Morgan joined an exclusive club as she and Hamm are the only U.S. WNT players to record at least 20 goals and 20 assists in the same calendar year and became only the third and youngest player to reach 20 assists in a calendar year. Morgan and Wambach combined for 55 goals in 2012 – matching a 21 year old record set in 1991 by Michelle Akers (39 goals) and Carin Jennings (16 goals) as the most goals scored by any duo in U.S. WNT history. She had either scored or assisted on 41 percent of the USA's 120 goals this year. And, by herself, she comfortably out-scored and out-assisted her opponents, who combined for 21 goals and 12 assists in 32 games against the U.S.

For her excellence on the field, U.S. Soccer announced Morgan as the 2012 Female Athlete of the Year. Morgan’s exploits have also earned her a place on the FIFA Ballon d’Or shortlist, ultimately finished third in voting. At the 2013 Algarve Cup, Morgan shared top-scoring honors. She finished the competition with four assists and three goals, including the equalizer against Sweden that advanced the U.S. to the final and the two goals against Germany that won the championship. Morgan previously won the tournament’s golden boot in 2011.

 Alex Morgan: Multi Coloured Life of a Soccer StarIn 2012 Morgan signed with Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing to pen The Kicks, a three-book series for middle schoolers. The main characters are four young girls centered on the themes of friendship, leadership, and soccer. In a statement released by Simon & Schuster, Morgan said she wanted her books to "inspire young girls" and "celebrate" her love of soccer. On September 1, 2012, the publisher set the release date for the first novel, Saving The Team, on May 14, 2013, and second novel, Sabotage Season, on September 3, 2013. The first novel, Saving the Team (ISBN 1442485701), debuted at number seven on the The New York Times Best Seller list for Children's Middle Grade.


Morgan has been featured in a number of advertisement campaigns and modeling assignments, including features in the 2012 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, appearing in a section of athletes in body paint and in the 2013 ESPN The Magazine music issue recreating Katy Perry's "One of the Boys" album cover.

Although her teammates rarely use it nowadays, Morgan was given the nickname "Baby Horse" by her teammates on the U.S. women's national team for her speed, running style and youth. She has expressed her support for FC Barcelona.
 

Honors
  • FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Silver Ball : 2008

  • NCAA All-American First-Team : 2010

  • Pac-10 Conference First-Team : 2008, 2009, 2010

  • ESPY Award Best Breakthrough Athlete Nominee and Best Moment Nominee: 2012, 2013

  • Women's Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year, Team Sport: 2012

  • U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year: 2012

  • Olympic Gold Medal : 2012

  • National Women's Soccer League Second Best XI : 2013


Morgan told during an interview " I definitely try to have a healthy diet,whether that's eating blueberries at breakfast or putting an avocado in my salad. You know, simple super foods like that that are healthy in my diet,"
She also promotes the importance of muscle recovery in optimal health and performance "we do wear heart-rate monitors and GPS trackers every practice and every game. That helps monitor how much we're in our top heart rate zone ... and helps us see how much recovery we should have."

Morgan said “When I think of my teammates training hard on their own—whether it’s going out and shooting or finding people to play with—it’s my job to do more than them, I’m always hoping that I’m doing more. It’s motivation.”


Morgan’s success doesn’t all rest in competitive genes—much of it boils down to a fitness regime that requires 100 percent discipline. Morgan logs about six miles per game, and up to 10 on the treadmill on non-game days. “I’m putting somewhere between 30 and 60 miles on my legs every week.”

Morgan swears by the basics: Strengthen your legs with squats, shape your core with planks—4-minute long planks, might we add—and pound out pushups. Not a fan of pushups? Neither is Morgan. “I actually hate them,” she laughs. “But I do them all the time because it’s a great workout.” The ways she sees it is: Giving up on something hard is never going to make you stronger.

Alex Morgan wrote in a blog:

 Alex Morgan: Multi Coloured Life of a Soccer StarI've worked out all my life, with grueling hours indoors — a prerequisite for an Olympic hopeful. But when the weather outside is wonderful, who wants to spend any time in a stuffy gym? Instead, gather the family and invite your friends to join you outdoors for a calorie-blasting good time. These activities make it easy to enjoy the season — and still lose weight, stay motivated, and build muscles — so you can look your best in the height of bathing suit season and still enjoy your favorite summertime treats and picnics.

Put your mind into a "competitive" mode and show off your speed, strength, and tenacity by working out in the sunshine each day. Here are some great tips to keep you in shape outdoors much in the same way you work out at a gym:

Swim to Keep Trim: Swimming or treading water is a great way to work the cardiovascular system. Do 20-30 minutes of laps in a pool, lake, or ocean. Swimming strengthens your chest, back, arms, abs, legs, and shoulders. Talk about a total-body workout!

Life's a Beach: Walking in the soft sand of the beach alone is a workout. Sand gives you the extra resistance that you wouldn't have on a treadmill or on asphalt. You can do it barefooted and you'll feel a great workout in your feet, shins, and calves, and beach walking is great for ankle stability.

Beach Buddy: You can create a great strength workout with just you and a beach towel. Alternate walking, jogging, and sprinting to work the lower body and get the heart rate elevated. The beach can be so tranquil and yet so energizing. Start out by walking, and all of a sudden you get the energy from the earth and you start to jog a little. To maximize the experience, do walking lunges or stationary lunges the length of your beach towel. Work the upper body with pushups and reverse planks and the abdominals with crunches on the towel.

Peace of Mind: The peaceful mood of the ocean's edge is a great time to stretch as well. Finish with some stretching, deep breathing, and meditation. Take time to close your eyes and feel the ocean mist and smell the salty air.

Pedal off the pounds: Power up each hill on a bike to help tighten and tone your legs, hips, and butt. Finally, make it social! Bring your friends along for a weekly workout challenge.

She says “Our next goal is to win the World Cup in 2015,” she says. “That’s already on our radar.” After losing to Japan in the 2011 World Cup and settling for silver, Morgan says next time, “we want to come out with gold.”

Alex Morgan writes on her official website: http://alexmorganonline.com/

It’s hard to believe that Alex Morgan, the American women’s soccer sensation, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament just five years ago. A torn ACL is often a career-hindering—if not ending—injury for many athletes. Yet Ms. Morgan, 23 years old, came back from the injury to have a successful soccer career that recently culminated with her scoring the goal against Canada that sent the U.S. to the gold-medal game at the London Olympics.
Ms. Morgan underwent surgery to repair her ACL her senior year of high school. After just five months of intense physical therapy, she was back on the field playing for the University of California at Berkeley. “An injury like that really tests you mentally,” she says. “Soccer was my life and suddenly I didn’t know if I’d play again.” Known for her superhuman speed on the field, Ms. Morgan, who plays forward, recalls the frustration of having to learn to run all over again. “I could barely jog on the treadmill,” she says.

Ms. Morgan says the majority of her physical-therapy exercises worked to improve her balance, agility and speed. “We really focused on making sure my hip and knee and foot were aligned and that my knee never went over my foot. Youth soccer players aren’t taught how important alignment is when we’re out on the field running around.”

She now incorporates many of the exercises into her pre-workout warm-up routine. “I think a proper warm-up and recovery are key to making sure you’re healthy on the field,” she says.

The Workout
Leading up to the Olympics, Ms. Morgan and her teammates had vigorous three-week training camps followed by a week of rest. During camp, the women spent one to four hours a day on the field scrimmaging and working on power and speed drills. Two to three days a week they’d work out with their strength coach in the gym. “That’s been my schedule for 1½ years,” she says. “We really train every day to the point of exhaustion.”

Along with her teammates, Ms. Morgan focuses on power development in the weight room, where she does a lot of power lifts, such as snatches and dead lifts, combined with box jumps, which entail jumping explosively on and off a box with both feet for some sets and one foot for others. “All of the power exercises we do are very specific to the sport,” she says. “All of the movements relate to and correlate with what we do on the field. That’s why they all require a lot of short busts of speed or power.”

In between sets Ms. Morgan might go into an empty room and do a few sets of high-knee runs or forward jumps. On the field, the team’s fitness coach warms them up with agility and balance drills as well as speedwork. The team might walk the length of the field doing high knees or lunges and then transition to sets of suicide sprints, which consist of sprinting from one line on the field to another and on each sequential run the lines get further apart. After a 30-minute warm-up, the women break into groups to do ball work, which might include sprinting with the ball or dribbling the ball around cones. The offense and defense will then break up and work on different skills. Ms. Morgan is often practicing shooting drills. The workout finishes with a scrimmage and a cool down.

The Diet
Oatmeal, eggs, and whole wheat toast are a typical breakfast when Ms. Morgan is training. Lunch and dinner are usually some type of pasta with a light sauce and grilled chicken or fish. Dinner might include a salad or side of vegetables. “At dinner, after working so hard all day, I’m definitely not afraid to have a cookie,” she says.

During workouts Ms. Morgan keeps her energy up with energy gels and bars. “I’m not big on energy drinks because those can make you crash later. During games I like to eat candy like gummy bears because it gives you sustainable energy.”

Most athletes let themselves splurge more once the season ends, but Ms. Morgan says she has to pay more attention to her diet. “Since I’m not training as vigorously, I don’t need as many calories so I need to watch how much I’m eating. I definitely cut back on the pasta.”

Gear & Cost
 Alex Morgan: Multi Coloured Life of a Soccer StarNike is a sponsor of the U.S. women’s national soccer team so Ms. Morgan wears Nike gear. “I love the Nike Free running shoes because they’re very light and I can throw them on to go for a run but also they’re casual enough to wear when I go out with friends.”

Ms. Morgan wears compression pants, particularly when she flies, to help with circulation. During every training session and every game she and her teammates wear heart-rate monitors and GPS watches. “We actually wore them for a year leading up to the Olympics to ensure that our heart rate was in the proper zone and to track our acceleration and deceleration. Our coach has all of that data stored.”

Least Favorite Exercise
“Lunges are so important to the sport because they work everything—the quads, hamstrings, core. But you have to do them properly making sure your knee doesn't extend past your foot so you get the total benefit and so you don’t get hurt. I think I dislike them because I have to do them every day.”

Playlist
Ms. Morgan likes to listen to upbeat songs by artists like Katy Perry and Rihanna when she’s in the gym. She puts on more mellow music, like the Kings of Leon, when she’s on the bus heading to a game.

Very active at a young age, Alex participated in several sports until she was 14 years old. Traveling from soccer practice to basketball practice to softball, volleyball, and track, Alex was a multi-sport athlete well into her teenage years. She did not begin playing club soccer until she was 14 years old; several years later than most players who go on to reach the elite levels of the sport. Although she didn't have the level of experience her teammates embodied when she started, her talent exhibited that she could be an impact player immediately.

It wasn't long before Alex earned a call-up to the U-17 Women's National tTeam, and soon after went on to play at the University of California at Berkeley from 2007-2010.

She closed her career as a Golden Bear the same manner in which she began it -- as the Cal Women's Soccer Team's season leading scorer. Alex concluded her four years at Berkeley tied for the third all-time scorer in California history with 45 goals, and in sole possession of third place based on points --107. As a sophomore at Cal, she was named to the United States U-20 Women's National Team that competed in the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile, scoring a total of four goals in the tournament against France, Argentina and North Korea. Her last game winning goal scored against North Korea was subsequently voted the "Best Goal of the Tournament", and later FIFA's "Second-Best Goal of the Year." Alex's performance on the field earned her the Bronze Shoe as the tournament's third-highest scorer, and the Silver Ball as the tournament's second-best player.Equally talented on the pitch as she is in the classroom, she was named to the 2010 CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District team. She graduated in December 2010, a full semester early thanks to her dedication in the offseason and summer, with a degree in political economy. She has been lauded for her studies as a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention.

In 2009, Alex became the youngest member of the Senior U.S. Women's National team. First appearing as a substitute in a match versus Mexico in March 2010, and scored her first international goal after coming on as a substitute against China in October 2010.

Her most important goal to date came a month later in a crucial road game against Italy with a Women's World Cup berth on the line for the United States. Despite missing a number of college matches to play for the U-20 and Senior National Team, she became the Bears' third all-time leading scorer. If Alex had not been helping the Senior U.S. Women's National Team quality for the 2011 World Cup, she would have undoubtedly secured first place in both Cal's all-time scoring and overall points.

On January 14, 2011, Alex was drafted the #1 overall pick in the 2011 WPS Draft by the Western New York Flash. She was the first California Golden Bears Women's Soccer Player to be drafted in the first round of Women's Professional Soccer.



In the summer of 2011 Alex was the youngest player named to the United States World Cup roster. On July 13, 2011, she captivated the hearts of viewers worldwide when scored her first FIFA Women's World Cup goal in the 82nd minute of the semi-final matchup against France giving the USA a 3-1 lead and ultimately, the victory. Alex also went on to score the first goal (69') in the FIFA World Cup Final against Japan after coming in as a substitute at the half as well as assisting the Abby Wambach header (104') for a goal in extra time.

The United States went on to lose to Japan and take the silver medal but the team was applauded for their grace in defeat and ability to capture the attention of the world with their play.
 

All eyes were on the U.S.

Team this summer at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Alex scored the winning goal in the semifinal match against Canada in extra time, sending the United States to the gold medal match against Japan. Her goal came in the 123rd minute, the latest goal ever scored by a member of the U.S. women's team or in an Olympic match. In the final, a 2-1 win against Japan on August 9, Alex assisted on a Carli Lloyd header. She ended the tournament with 3 goals and a team-high 4 assists (tied with Megan Rapinoe). To celebrate her achievements, she was honored at Diamond Bar High School, and #13 will now be given to the senior captain of the school's soccer team each year.

Alex Morgan plays at forward position, is 5’7” in height, studies in University of California and resides at Diamond Bar, Calif USA.

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Dated 11  October 2013

 

 

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