Alex Morgan face of future for US Soccer

Associated Press Modified: September 19, 2012 at 3:03 am •  Published: September 19, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Morgan and her U.S. soccer teammates are on a victory tour after winning the gold medal at the London Olympics. Morgan's late header against Canada propelled the Americans into the gold-medal match, where soccer's version of the Redeem Team edged Japan 2-1 before 80,203 fans at Wembley Stadium in a rematch of the World Cup final. On Wednesday, the U.S. team will play Australia in an exhibition match near Denver.

The 23-year-old Morgan recently participated in a youth soccer clinic in Rochester, N.Y. — hometown of teammate Abby Wambach — that focused on warm-up techniques to help prevent injuries. She walked the runway at Fashion Week in New York, biting her gold medal in a blue and brown vertically striped dress with a bouffant updo while on stage at the Just Dance fashion show. She also made the morning talk show circuit, inked a book deal and rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 11.

The Cal graduate with a major in political economy and 942,000 followers on Twitter discusses winning gold, returning from a knee injury and what's next without a pro league in the U.S.

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GOLDEN MOMENT

Morgan says the team is proud to wear the gold medal after "a heartbreaker losing to Japan last year" in the World Cup. The U.S. topped Japan in the rematch in London, and Morgan called it "fate that we met up together in the final in the Olympics. Getting that gold medal, wearing it around our necks, makes it even sweeter." On Sunday in Carson, Calif., Morgan celebrated her 50th international appearance by scoring a team-best 22nd goal of the year in a 2-1 win, also against Australia. She played before more than 100 friends and family, who came from nearby Diamond Bar, where she led her high school team before going on to be the top scorer at Cal.

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KNEE INJURIES

Morgan tore a knee ligament in high school while making a move without the ball, had surgery and was back on the field after five months of rehab. In high school, she says players typically warm up with the ball and dribbling. Now she's telling younger players about techniques that include balance and core exercises. Morgan says the biggest difference in soccer training is "the agility exercises. We also raise awareness of the importance of aligning the foot, knee and hip." She says it's important for her "to reach out to that teenage group" and share advice.



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