Thorns’ Alex Morgan embraces stardom and role as face of women’s soccer

July 27, 2013 Thorns FC

Possibly the best time measurement of Alex Morgan’s rise to stardom is light speed.

Morgan’s ascent to becoming the biggest women’s soccer star in the United States has been head-spinningly fast. She’s gone from a talented freshman at California to the face of her sport in slightly more than four years.

Following in the footsteps of Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach, the U.S. national team player and Portland Thorns forward has readily embraced the role. With her sport’s growing popularity, her exploding social media presence, and her professional and personal appeal, Morgan is crossing over into mainstream celebrity status and could take women’s soccer to a new level of popularity in the United States.

“Her appeal is not limited to sports fans — it is rooted in a combination of (perceived) wholesomeness, nationalism, and our ongoing search for a star that won’t disappoint us off the field,” said David M. Carter, executive director of the Sports Business Institute at USC, by email. “Seemingly fresh faced and relatable, Morgan also benefits from a sport that has yet to be bogged down by the same types of controversies that have compromised others.”

Morgan, who celebrated her 24th birthday July 2, said her rise to stardom has been blazingly fast, but she is prepared to handle the responsibility of growing the game and the additional pressures that accompany being a celebrity.

“I know that there is a large responsibility on my shoulders in terms of being a good role model. Knowing that the way Mia Hamm, Christine Lilly and Abby Wambach inspired me, I now need to be that inspiration for some of the young girls,” Morgan said. “A little bit has come fast, but I’ve just had to deal with that. When you are asked to play a certain role on a team or in a league, you want to do it for the development of the women’s game here. So sometimes you do have to step up, even if you’re not exactly feeling like you’re ready to play that role yet. You need to step up when you’re asked.”

Morgan credits her family for instilling in her the values that have helped her remain appreciative and humble in the face of the growing popularity.

“My family is really close and they hold me accountable in many different things,” Morgan said. “We’ve always had that loving relationship where we’ll always support each other no matter what happens. It was just a great upbringing, knowing that my parents sacrificed so much for whatever we wanted to grow and be.”

Read more… (via Oregonian)