Pictures by Associated Press photographers : Boris
Diamond Bar's Alex Morgan scores her first goal in World Cup competition Wednesday morning in Team USA's 3-1 semifinal victory over France.
Having just taken a 2-1 lead on Abby Wambach's goal in the 79th minute, Team USA put the game out of reach in the 82nd minute on Morgan's goal. She scored on a rebound kick right in front of the net.
She wears USA across her chest and No. 13 on her back. But the people that know Team USA soccer player Alex Morgan are sure Diamond Bar is in her heart.
Her older sister, Jennifer, her Diamond Bar High School coach Kemp Wells and former Brahmas soccer player Sonja Burns all point out that their small soccer world knew from the beginning that Morgan was something special.
“Alex deserves this – she has put her all into everything she does,” Morgan’s mom, Pam said. “Since her first Diamond Bar AYSO soccer game at 5 years old, she has always just given her best every time she steps on the field. Sports, school, friendships, and family have been instrumental in shaping her life. She took the ball and ran with it. She's a great daughter – a real joy.”
Team USA will meet France Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. PST in the first of two Women’s World Cup semifinals. Morgan’s role has primarily been the first substitute in when the US team needs a lift and some extra speed.
“She was a tremendous talent with a great combination of speed and skill,” said Wells, who coached Morgan her junior and senior year at Diamond Bar High. “Alex was a fantastic captain and she made a conscious effort to put the team's success before her individual success.”
“She has been doing a tremendous job in the minutes she’s given with Team USA.”
The youngest of three girls, Alex, 22, was protected by her parents and sisters. It was a combination of giving her a high school social life while not burning her out on the sport which she would later make her mark.
“All of us were athletic – we played softball first then volleyball, and soccer but Alex loved soccer the most,” Jennifer said. “My dad wanted all of us to play softball but once Alex stared to be recruited by club teams by the age of 11, we knew she was special.”
Determined to let her have a childhood, her dad didn’t want to enter the club team circuit right away. Morgan played volleyball, soccer and ran track at Diamond Bar, but when forced to choose, she picked soccer. Jennifer said her dad would always say, “She’s a world-class athlete.”
Her sisters took Alex under their wing when she was in high school. Jennifer said they took her to parties and let her experience being a high school student.
“Her sister and I are so proud of her. She’s just so modest,” Jennifer said.
While in high school, Morgan was selected to play in the Olympic Developmental Program, where she gained a lot of exposure.
But in her senior year, she tore her ACL and was told she would need 9-12 months to recover. Jennifer said Alex fought back and returned in six months.
While on scholarship at the University of California, Morgan rushed through her final year to graduate a semester early so she could take off with the US National Team.
After the World Cup, Morgan will return to the Western New York Flash of the Women’s Professional Soccer League. She was selected first overall in this year’s draft.