SELF

Soccer Star Alex Morgan Wants To Be The Best Player In The World

December 15, 2015 Lifestyle, Press

Alex Morgan is one of the fastest players on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. But she wants to be even faster. She is a woman with #Goals, big-time. Today she is charging hard inside a warehouselike gym in Orlando, Florida, where she’s training with her off-season performance and speed specialist, Dan Schuck. I watch as Morgan sprints down the field—her 5-foot-7 frame leaning forward, her arms tucked in and pumping fast—at a pace that seems almost…human. Until I notice that she’s tethered to Schuck with a dual resistance band around both their waists. As Morgan runs forward, Schuck attempts to rein her in, using his own body weight to counter Morgan’s power. Despite the challenge to her natural velocity, she still blazes ahead, ponytail flying like a whip. Eight intervals later, she stops for a break. “Do I think I can get better?” Morgan asks, with a determined grin. “Yes, I think I can.”

Morgan, 26, has always been on the fast track. Since becoming the youngest member of Team USA at the age of 22, Morgan has scored 52 goals in 91 international games. At the 2012 Olympics, she netted the game-winning goal in the last 45 seconds of the semifinal. It’s moments like those—when the stadium is packed and tension is high—that Morgan excels. “My favorite goals are the ones when there’s so much pressure,” she says. “I focus more when the game is on the line.” Last July, Morgan and her team found themselves in exactly that situation, as they defeated Japan 5–2 in the World Cup final. That match averaged a record 26.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched soccer game—men’s or women’s—in U.S. television history. And you can bet that many of them tuned in to catch a glimpse of Morgan, the team’s speed-queen forward, number 13.

Still, Morgan takes her soccer stardom in stride. “I always tried to make my family proud,” she says. “My motivation was winning and proving that I belong on a team.” Early in her training, Morgan came up with a list of goals: Make the women’s national team, win an Olympic gold medal, win the World Cup. Check, check, check—and she did it all by age 26. “I always felt those things were out of reach,” she says now, taking a minute to absorb what she’s accomplished.

(Read more here: SELF)