Alex Morgan’s upcoming season with the Orlando Pride will get started without one of the star forward’s biggest fans regularly living in the Sunshine State.
The Pride had a busy offseason, adding new players in an attempt to get beyond the semifinals of the NWSL playoffs, where the club finished last season. The moves made by the women’s side of Orlando City SC were not unlike the overhaul the men’s club.
The Lions added several new players, but also subtracted more than a dozen, including one special to Morgan.
As the Orlando Pride’s March 24 season opener against the Utah Royals gets closer, Morgan is dealing with the fact her husband, fellow soccer player Servando Carrasco, is competing for a club on the other side of the United States.
Carrasco’s club option was declined following the 2017 season, and in December the defensive midfielder was acquired by the L.A. Galaxy in Stage 2 of the Major League Soccer Re-Entry Draft.
Morgan posted a picture of herself and Carrasco on Instagram, saying living so far from “the most important person” in her life will likely be the biggest challenge she’ll face in 2018.
“Sometimes the sacrifices we make for football knows no boundaries,” she wrote.
Morgan and Carrasco were wed on New Year’s Eve in 2014. Carrasco was traded to Orlando City from Sporting KC in July 2015 and Morgan joined the Orlando Pride during the club’s inaugural season in 2016.
“I hoped that we would continue here together, that was our plan two and half years ago,” Morgan said before the start of the SheBelieves Cup. “I don’t want to sugarcoat it, it’s not easy.”
Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel during the Orlando Pride’s media day, Morgan said both she and Carrasco were used to spending time apart prior to this season.
Still, they were planning to continue their lives in Orlando, she said.
“I think we’ve spent a lot of time away from each other, so we kind of understand that side of things,” Morgan said. “Obviously, with the national team, I’m away for a couple weeks at a time, all the time. So we’ve gotten used to that.
“I think what was the hardest is just us expecting to live together and to kind of share our lives together here in Orlando. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Just moving forward, I feel like as much as we can see each other on off weeks or whatever it is, will definitely help.”
The Orlando Pride’s season comes with high expectations. Morgan and Brazilian superstar Marta return, and forward Sydney Leroux was acquired to bolster the team’s attack.
“I just only dreamt of having a front line like this, an attacking group like this,” she said. “To see it all come together, it’s pretty exciting for us.”
Morgan said as the 2018 season gets started, she’s going to rely on her teammates to help her off the pitch.
“For me, it’s just continuing to stay motivated here, which won’t be hard because my teammates are amazing,” she said.
“I don’t live super close to a lot of my teammates, other than [goalkeeper] Ashlyn Harris and [defender] Ali Krieger, so I think I just need to get outside my comfort zone more and kind of go hang out with them a little more often.”
With a laugh, she continued, “I just don’t really want to be cooking for one, so I’ll definitely be heading over to Toni Pressley’s apartment quite often so she can cook me up some mean vegan food.”
Even though their home stadiums are now 2,511 miles apart, Morgan and Carrasco are still finding things to share, she said. Lately, instead of finding something new to compete in, the two have a more shared pastime.
“My husband has kind of gotten me hooked on USA Today crosswords,” she said, adding that right now, she’s “really bad at them.”
“I just kind of pick that up along the way here and there, but I’m in for any crossword, really. We have not made that a competition. A lot of things are competition in our daily lives, so I think we’ll leave that to more of a collaborative thing instead of a competitive one.”
Contact Jordan Culver at email@example.com or follow on Twitter @JordanCulver.