This week’s 20 Questions guest needs no introduction.
AWK: You were drafted first overall by the WNY Flash in the 2011 WPS Draft. What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in your rookie season?
AM: Individually, I’m looking forward to contributing the most I can to WNY, especially getting used to playing with Marta and Sinclair so we can play well together up top as well as the rest of my teammates. But most importantly, I want our team to do well this season and be in that championship.
AWK: You’ve excelled as a “super sub” for the USWNT but spent your college and youth national team days as a starting striker. Which role contains more pressure?
AM: Whether starting or coming off the bench, there is always pressure on forwards and I don’t know any forwards that don’t like that pressure to some degree. Rather than the role, I think pressure is more or less based on who you are playing against and how much the game matters. It is up to me and my teammates to use that pressure to help us.
AWK: You made your national team debut about a year ago in a friendly against Mexico. You’ve since become a staple in the team. When did you first know you had solidified your spot in Pia Sundhage’s squad?
AM: Every time I am named to a roster or play a game with the national team I am given more confidence in my abilities to play at this level, but I still do not think I have solidified a spot on Pia’s team until the 2011 World Cup roster is named.
AWK: You started playing club soccer fairly late in life at age 14. What initially got you started in the sport? (And look where you are now!)
AM: I loved sports from an early age, so my parents would take me from soccer practice to a basketball game to softball practice in the same day. When I got too busy for school and 3-4 sports I had to choose which sports I loved most and soccer was always at the top of list, oddly enough, because I loved to run. I knew club soccer was a big commitment and I wasn’t ready for that until age 14. At that time, I knew I wanted to pursue soccer and play in college, so that’s when I really dedicated more and more time to the game.
AWK: You first got called up to the senior national team in early 2010. Were there any nerves involved with playing alongside USWNT veterans and how long did it take before you got over them?
AWK: I went to my first camp in December 2009 and right when I walked into the hotel, I saw Abby, Mitts and Carli…yes I was quite nervous. I only knew about 3-4 girls going into my first camp and it was a little surreal at first to be training with them. Since it was a 3 week camp, I got to know everyone a little and felt a lot more comfortable coming into camp in January.
AWK: You’ve mentioned that Kristine Lilly was your idol growing up. Were you surprised by her recent retirement and did she impart any words of wisdom to you?
AM: I was a little surprised by her retirement just because it’s Kristine Lilly! I mean she’s gone to five world cups and we all thought she was going for a sixth. But I’m so happy for her, she has accomplished a tremendous amount in her life. I think just passing down her number to me means a lot to me, and definitely a lot to live up to.
AWK: You could very well become the face of the USWNT over the next few years. Does that freak you out a bit?
AM: I don’t really see that happening! I mean I hope I do well and I set really high goals for myself, but I don’t think ahead too much. One day, one week, one game at a time.
AWK: You scored crucial game-winning goals in both the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and the UEFA/CONCACAF 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier against Italy. Which goal is the most memorable for you?
AM: They both represent different phases in my life and it’s so hard to place one above the other. But I will always remember both as the two happiest moments in my soccer career thus far.
AWK: Although you’re only 21, you seem to be the complete striker. Is there one particular aspect of your game that you’d like to work on?
AM: Actually there are so many aspects of my game that I need to work on. I have excelled at my strengths but to feel completely comfortable at the international level I need to work on a lot… holding the ball back to pressure for example. That’s something that’s gotten better in the last year but I have to work on it a lot more to feel comfortable with that aspect of my game. That’s just one example but there are plenty of things I’d like to improve on.
AWK: You had four successful seasons with the Cal Golden Bears and would likely be the all-time leader in goals and points if it wasn’t for international duty this past fall. How would you assess your collegege playing career?
AM: Each season I grew as a player and person, and I am happy with the outcome, even though I missed some of my secnd and fourth season due to national team obligations. Seeing that I am very happy with where I am now, I have to thank those that helped me get here like my Cal coaches and teammates.
AWK: You graduated early from Cal. Did you make that decision in order to accommodate for your soccer career?
AM: About a year ago, I decided to give myself the best chance in pursuing soccer as a profession, so I loaded up classes in the offseason and in the summer. I wanted to focus purely on soccer once my last collegiate season was over. I’m focused on soccer right now and relieved that I don’t need to worry about exams and assignments anymore when on the road with the national team!
AWK: You recently moved to upstate New York. How are you liking the new locale so far?
AM: I went there only for a few days so far, but I loved it and I am looking forward to spending more time with the team and at my new apartment.
AWK: Is it true that you registered with WPS with the name “Alexandra Morgan”? If so, is that what we should refer to you as from now on?
AM: I don’t think anyone actually calls me Alexandra, but I guess I registered it like that… I didn’t even realize it!
AWK: The WNY Flash front line will feature Marta, Christine Sinclair and yourself. Do you already have a wager going between the three of you as to who will score the most goals?
AM: Not yet, but I’m hoping the three of us will be producing lots of goals for the team!
AWK: You graduated with a degree in political economy of industrial societies. Do you remember the subject of the last college paper you turned in?
AM: Actually yes, my last paper was about social movements in Latin America and how they created political and economic change.
AWK: Your national teammates must have treated you to something after you scored that goal in Padua, Italy, right? Perhaps a steak – or pasta? – dinner?
AM: I don’t remember anything specifically but I did get some extra hugs the next few days…we also still had one more game to solidify our spot in the World Cup.
AWK: Are you aware that an audio clip of a Mexican commentator celebrating one of your goals during CONCACAF WWC Qualifying has become a popular ringtone amongst USWNT fans?
AM: I had no idea…why haven’t I heard this!
[Ed. Note – Here it is…]
AWK: Favorite Jersey Shore character?
AM: Pauly D and JWoWW, obviously.
AWK: According to reports, you’re a pretty competitive person, even when it comes to board games. Is there one particular board game of which you simply must not lose in?
AM: In college, we played Taboo a lot, and that game’s a must win for me. But my dad and I have always played card games and kept score so when he won, he would sort of taunt me. I think that’s part of where I got my competitive edge.
AWK: Lastly, what are the top three things you’d like to accomplish during your time in the United Kingdom?
AM: 1- Beat England 2- Eat fish and chips 3- Perfect my English accent
Many thanks to Alex and Marissa.