CARY, N.C. – Alex Morgan smiled as a group of raucous fans chanted “Alex!” in the minutes following the Orlando Pride’s 5-0 loss to the North Carolina Courage.
It was a tough out for Morgan and the Pride, but she and several other Pride players made time for the youngsters who wanted to see some of their heroes in action.
And Morgan was still coming to terms with being named one of Time magazine’s most influential people. The Time 100 was unveiled on Wednesday.
“I think when I first heard about it, I was just taken back,” Morgan told Pro Soccer USA after Wednesday’s match. “I mean, just so honored. It was like … I couldn’t actually grasp it until the actual magazine came out and the actual release came out because I didn’t know who I was alongside. I was just in awe of the people that were nominated alongside me and I’m very honored. This is very dear to my heart, this achievement.”
Morgan, also a superstar for the U.S. women’s national team, and Liverpool star Mo Salah were the two soccer players on the list.
Morgan was one of the most in-demand players after the match, with supporters hoping for autographs and selfies at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. One fan was elated just to receive a high-five from the American superstar.
“I think it’s great, just having so many people have their eyes on women’s soccer and having women’s soccer get the recognition,” Morgan said. “Just being honored in Time 100’s most influential people, I see this as a great honor for women’s soccer in general and where women’s soccer has come the last 20 years just kind on the eve on the 20th anniversary of the ’99 World Cup, it’s pretty great.”
Women’s soccer icon Mia Hamm wrote Morgan’s entry in the list and said, “As the mother of 12-year-old twin daughters, I fully understand the impact that Alex makes on this next generation of young girls. Her commitment to set such a positive example for them is unmatched, and I am incredibly grateful that the future of our game is in such good hands.”
Morgan also has a strong off-field presence — she’s appeared in music, videos, movies and has published a series of children’s books. She’s also heavily involved in the USWNT’s fight for equal pay.
“I try to put my best on the field and capitalize on opportunities outside of the soccer field, whether that’s influencing people to play the game or on equal pay or other important issues that I want to raise or just on inspiring the next generation,” Morgan said. “But, I feel like I don’t want to get too wrapped up in thinking about it too much because I need to do my work on the field before anything else.”