Alex Morgan, the 23-year-old U.S. soccer star who is celebrating on a victory tour after winning the gold medal at the London Olympics, is prepping up to be the future face of the women’s national team.
Morgan made her mark during the London games when her late header against Canada propelled the Americans into the gold-medal match. While the team would go on to knock out Japan 2-1 at Wembley Stadium in a rematch of the World Cup final, Morgan would follow-up the games with a slew of promotional activities.
From walking the runway at Fashion Week in New York to making her morning talk show rounds, the Forward/Striker from Diamond Bar, Calif. even received the honor of ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 11.
But what might explain her 942,000 followers on Twitter the best would probably be Morgan’s bodypaint photo shoot in February’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Morgan appeared in the issue wearing nothing but thin coat of artistically applied bodypaint. The paint was made to emulate a bikini –- an art that has become quite common nowadays.
Aside from all of the hoopla, Morgan is sticking to her soccer roots, having recently participated in a youth soccer clinic in Rochester, N.Y. — hometown of teammate Abby Wambach — that focused on warm-up techniques to help prevent injuries.
While Morgan tore a knee ligament in high school while making a move without the ball, had surgery and was back on the field after five months of rehab, she takes pride in spreading the word when it comes to safety in soccer.
In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Morgan says the biggest difference in soccer training is "the agility exercises. We also raise awareness of the importance of aligning the foot, knee and hip." She says it’s important for her "to reach out to that teenage group" and share advice.
As she enjoying her current schedule of appearances, Morgan will unfortunately not be looking forward to playing in a women’s U.S. pro league. Earlier this year, the Women’s Professional Soccer league folded, with no replacement so far.
While there have been talks of upgrading a semipro league in the states or providing 25-30 games per year in an extended residency program for the U.S. national team before the 2015 World Cup, other options for Morgan and her teammates include playing overseas in leagues in Europe or Japan.
According to AP, the U.S. Soccer Federation is looking for a new coach after Pia Sundhage announced she will return to Sweden to coach the national team.
Morgan told the newswire that Sundhage is a "great coach" who taught her about "enjoying the journey and living in the moment — it really made me have fun."
Despite the recent setback, the next face of U.S. women’s soccer told AP that she is "hopeful" there will be a new U.S. pro league soon.