Vogue’s Hamish Bowles Trains With Soccer Star Alex Morgan

March 31, 2016 Lifestyle, Press

Since their electrifying win at last year’s World Cup, the U.S. women’s team has ignited soccer mania. Reluctant striker Hamish Bowles trains with star scorer Alex Morgan.

“I was the ultimate tomboy,” says women’s-soccer supernova Alex Morgan, remembering her childhood self. “I’m supercompetitive. I wanted to beat the boys at everything, I wanted to be faster; I wanted to be stronger.”

I, on the other hand, was the ultimate sissy. “He’s got footballer’s knees!” exulted my father at the very moment of my first appearance in this world. Unfortunately for him, I showed no interest whatsoever in the Beautiful Game. I don’t remember anyone ever teaching me how to play; in England it was simply assumed that every boy would understand the rudiments of the sport. (Girls weren’t part of the equation at that time: They had netball, rounders, and hockey to keep them occupied.)

In a doomed attempt to hook me in, Dad took me, aged ten, to watch his beloved local team, Hendon, play in the Amateur Cup semifinal. I vividly recall my father’s disquieting transformation from mild-mannered accountant to Tasmanian Devil, hurling invective, forbidden swear words, and spittle at the hapless players below. Not long after, Dad had to bribe me to attend a white hot–ticket Liverpool vs. Chelsea match with the promise of a trip to the antiques market of Portobello Road the following morning.

In 1999, when Morgan was ten, the U.S. Women’s National soccer team, led by Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, and Michelle Akers, won the FIFA Women’s World Cup, 5–4, against China. From that point on, she was hooked. At sixteen, already a star on her Diamond Bar, California, high school soccer team, she felt that her childhood dream of making it as a professional player was an achievable goal.

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