Alex Morgan is one of the most popular players in USA women’s football. A talented goalscorer with a style that is very easy on the eye and good looks to match, she is nothing short of a media phenomenon.
There is more to Morgan than meets the eye, however. A successful children’s writer, she has just published Hat Trick, the fourth book in her series The Kicks.
The saga follows the adventures of Devin, a 13-year-old girl who moves from Connecticut to California and discovers in football a way to make friends and experience new adventures.
“I never imagined that I’d enjoy doing this so much,” the footballing wordsmith tells FIFA.com. “The opportunity came up in 2012 and I didn’t want to pass it up. I’m very happy with how popular it’s proved with young girls. It’s children’s literature and it’s easy to read.”
Not content with that, she has also written a book about her experiences at the London 2012 Olympic Games, where she won gold with her country, while a pilot episode of the cartoon version of The Kicks has just aired on TV.
“If it’s a success, they might show the whole season, which is based on the first of the three books I wrote, called Saving The Team,” said the Portland Thorns forward, clearly excited at the prospect of her stories potentially becoming the female version of the hugely successful Captain Tsubasa series.
For the time being, however, the intrepid Morgan has other things on her mind than her successful writing career, not least Tuesday’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ semi-final against Germany in Montreal, a game in which she will be hoping to add to the one goal she has scored in the tournament so far.
“The two best teams in the world are coming face to face,” said the striker, who turns 26 on Tuesday. “It’s virtually a final. Germany are a great side. We’ve watched nearly all of their games, and they’re very strong in defence and dangerous in the air and with the ball at their feet.
“We need to watch out for the knockdowns too and for Celia Sasic and Anja Mittag, who are both a big threat up front.”
It was seven years ago that Morgan burst on to the international scene at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Chile 2008, which USA won, after beating Germany in the semis. As well as a winner’s medal, the forward also walked away with the adidas Silver Ball and the adidas Bronze Boot, and scored the goal of the tournament in the final.
“A lot has changed since then,” she said, casting her mind back. “I’ve matured as a person, a player and a team-mate, and it’s been a great journey.
“That was my first tournament in front of more than 500 people and I’ve learned to deal with the difference at this level.”
The crowd at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium will be a good deal bigger than that. And with the US border lying so close, Jill Ellis’ side can expect plenty of support in the stands.
“It’s a World Cup with a little bit of a difference,” explained Morgan. “There have been so many USA fans at the last few games that it’s felt like we’ve been playing at home, even though we’re in Canada. We have a lot of support and our families come to see us more often.”
One person close to Morgan’s heart who has not been around, however, is her husband, Sporting Kansas City midfielder Servando Carrasco, who is on duty with his team in MLS.
“We’ve hardly seen each other lately,” she explained. “We’re obviously both very busy right now, though the fact that we’re both soccer players means we understand each other better. We understand the commitment involved and we support one another.”
Touching her wedding ring, she added: “We have to make a lot of sacrifices for our work and our marriage, though it’s just a question of finding a balance and helping each other to keep pushing on.”
As busy as they are, Morgan and her husband are determined to see each other on Sunday, when the Final of Canada 2015 takes place.
“We’re taking it one game at a time,” said Morgan, a member of the USA side that finished runners-up to Japan at Germany 2011. “We’ve been playing better and better as the tournament has gone on and obviously our goal is to take that trophy back home again.”
The last time the Stars and Stripes did that was in 1999. Sixteen years on, Morgan has the chance to fashion another happy ending for American women’s football.