Alex Morgan, one of the greatest figures in women’s football, is in Europe with the rest of her teammates from the United States selection for two friendly matches against Sweden and France, in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics this summer. On Saturday, they tied 1-1 against the Swedes and this Tuesday they face the French team.
From her hotel room in the United States concentration camp, the star forward of the Stars and Stripes team sat down to chat virtually.
“I’m not going to lie, the team is looking pretty good,” said Alex Morgan Carrasco in an exclusive interview with ESPN Sports. “We are feeling very accurate, there is a lot of excitement in the group for the Olympics. There is not much time left together before the competition, so we have to take advantage of every moment in this camp ”.
The United States team is number one in the ranking of the FIFA. Their dominance in women’s soccer is evident and they repeat as clear favorites to win the gold medal.
“I would say we are favorites,” shared Morgan with a smile. “It is also a reality that we will be playing in Japan and they always appear in tournaments, they are a difficult team. (The Japanese team) have gone through a kind of restructuring, they have a much younger team now, but you can’t rule out the host country. They are also Sweden, Brazil, there are many very strong competitors. In addition, now there will be 12 teams and each game matters, we must take each one as a final “.
So far, ten teams have a ticket to the Olympic tournament: Japan, USA, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Britain, Zambia, Netherlands, Sweden Y Canada. The two remaining places will be defined with a playoff between South Korea against China and in the other key, Cameroon versus chili.
The United States women’s team will continue to stand up for American soccer. The decorated team will fight to return to the path of the medals in Tokyo, after, in the last Olympic tournament in Rio 2016, they were eliminated in the quarterfinals. His counterpart, the men’s U-23 team, did not get the ticket so they will not be present in the competition in the summer.
“It was very unfortunate (that the men did not qualify). We all thought that this team was the group to qualify for Olympics. I think the pandemic ended up affecting them and they did not arrive in the way they expected, ”the 31-year-old forward shared.
The U-23 men’s team that represented the United States in the Olympic Qualifying tournament lacked many of its figures, as the clubs chose not to release them for the qualifying competition. Had they qualified, the team that would have traveled to Tokyo would have been of great weight, considering that their current figures are at the regulatory age for the Olympic tournament. Such is the case of players like Giovanni Reyna, Christian Pulisic, Sergiño Dest and Weston McKennie, who are under 23 years of age.
“You see so much young talent, in general, and the ranking (of FIFA) for the men’s team is going up, that’s always positive. Without a doubt, we must improve our lower categories because that is our future talent, “he said.
Contrary to what happened in men’s soccer, the United States women’s team continues to dominate the world. It is the most winning team in World Cup history with four titles, as well as four gold and one silver medals, since 1996, when women’s soccer became Olympic. But what are some factors that have made the US national team so dominant in women’s soccer?
“Our domestic soccer league is something that helps a lot to develop talent, as well as the collegiate system that is unique in the world,” said Morgan Carrasco. “It is also a reality that we have more resources than other national teams, beyond the fact that we are legally fighting with the US Soccer Federation for equal treatment and pay, we are still ahead of many other teams. Compared to other countries, it also influences that there is great respect for women in sports in the United States. “
Since April 2016, the North American players have sued the American Federation for institutional gender discrimination for lower wages, training conditions and travel, compared to men. In 2017, they signed an agreement with US Soccer for five years to increase the base salary. This agreement expires in 2021, so the fight continues.
“There have been many ups and downs (in that fight for equality), it has been a roller coaster ride. Sometimes you feel like you’re fighting, but you’re getting nowhere. At the same time, we must celebrate the small victories that we obtain. It is important to recognize that the struggle we have right now is not necessarily to see immediate results in my paycheck, but to think about future players’ checks and that feeling of true equality that my daughter, for example, will be able to enjoy, ”said Alex.
Alex Morgan, who debuted as a mom last May, has won just about everything as a pro. Two-time world champion, gold medal in Olympics, UEFA Champions League, league titles and various individual awards. However, the iconic dorsal attacker number 13 still has a lot to prove.
“I aspire to be the best player I can. I think that this is the best player in the world, but I have to prove it every day. It’s my own story of resurgence after giving birth and becoming a mom. I want to prove to myself that I belong and deserve to be at the top, ”Morgan concluded.
100 days before the Tokyo Olympics, Alex Morgan wants to continue to dominate the world, representing female power and taking the flag of the United States to the top.