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Alex Morgan Finds the Silver Lining

This was supposed to be a very different story. When Alex Morgan, World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist, announced she was pregnant following the epic victory tour of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) last summer, she followed it up with a goal so audacious you’d have to be a little crazy to believe it: Be physically and mentally ready—Olympian ready—to play for the United States and win a gold medal in Tokyo mere weeks after giving birth. No pressure.

It wasn’t an impossible idea—especially for a woman who’s built a career on demolishing every “impossible” goal she’s ever set for herself. At 22, Morgan made her World Cup debut with the USWNT as the youngest player on the roster. She’s since scored more than 100 international goals, won two World Cups and one Olympic gold medal, and become one of the most recognizable faces in American sports. In 2016 she was one of five players to file an official complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging gender discrimination by U.S. Soccer. By the time the whole team officially sued their employers in 2019, the 30-year-old had emerged as one of the loudest voices in the most visible fight for equal pay in a generation.

When we first met in Los Angeles in February, her 32-weeks-pregnant belly impossible to ignore, much of Morgan’s life was up in the air. She didn’t know where she’d be living (her husband, also a professional soccer player, was in the middle of negotiations to sign with a new team); how she was going to set up her nursery (the nesting impulse hadn’t kicked in yet); or how the hell she was going to manage the logistical nightmare of having a newborn on the biggest athletic stage in the world (would she pump at halftime?).