When she started playing for the national team, many saw her as a pretty face who scored goals. But people would soon learn she was way more than that. Her teammate, Meghan Rapinoe, told an online publication that Alex received the nickname “Baby Horse” immediately after joining the team.
The name was a tribute to her speed, long legs, and youth – she was the youngest player on the team. Alex looked like she was galloping when effortlessly racing up and down the field.
The Start of a Successful NWSL Stint
Alex may have joined the national team later than anticipated, but she was in perfect form and raring to go! Her first appearance for the team was during the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in Mexico. She scored in a match against Cuba which was her first international goal.
Alex was also a part of the national team in the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile. She scored four goals in the tournament, one of which received the most votes as the best goal. Alex’s excellent performance earned her the tournament’s prized Bronze Shoe.
She Multi-Tasks Like a Pro
Student life at UC Berkeley was demanding. Alex needed to hit the books hard while fulfilling her U.S. National team commitments. Despite overlapping obligations, she enjoyed a glorious stint with the California Bears. Among her best games was the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship against Stanford. Alex scored a brilliant equalizer with barely two minutes left – resulting in a draw.
Stanford emerged as the better team during penalty kicks that day, but the game was memorable. During her time with the California Bears, Alex helped the team reach the NCAA Tournament four years in a row.
Awards and Recognitions
Alex raked up several awards and achievements during her collegiate career. She was one of the candidates for the Hermann Trophy during her junior year of college. It was the first time a Golden Bear reached the top three finalists for the prestigious award.
Alex was also a finalist for the Honda Sports award. By the time she graduated college, Alex had scored 45 goals and 106 points for California. Despite a packed soccer schedule, Alex graduated a semester early, earning her well-deserved degree in Political Economy.
She Joins Western New York Flash
In January 2011, Alex became the first overall pick for the Western New York Flash as part of the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) draft. Like many Alex Morgan moments to come, this was one of many outstanding firsts. She was the first California player drafted in round 1 of the WPD draft. On May 1, 2011, Alex scored her first goal during a home opener, where the Flash won 3-0 against Atlanta Beat.
The young star was in for a brilliant season with 14 matches and four goals throughout 2011. The Flash won the WPS Championship and the regular season title that year.