Winning an Olympic gold medal and two World Cup titles are incredible life accomplishments. But Alex Morgan isn’t taking her foot off the gas pedal anytime soon. The 32-year-old soccer star says she will do everything her power to make U.S. Women’s Soccer truly equitable for all.
In May 2022, Morgan and her teammates on the U.S. Women’s Soccer team won a $24 million settlement from their gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. The landmark agreement ensures equal pay for male and female U.S. players going forward. Morgan became one of the faces of the lawsuit alongside her teammate Megan Rapinoe. The two were among five players who filed the original complaint in 2016.
Of the $24 million settlement, $2 million will go toward the players’ post-career goals, as well as charitable funds that support girls’ and women’s soccer.
In addition to transforming the future of women’s soccer, Morgan recently authored “The Kicks,” a book series about soccer geared toward middle schoolers, launched a digital media company with some of her fellow Olympians that aims to elevate women’s voices, partnered with the clean nutrition brand Orgain and is busy being mom to her 2-year-old daughter, Charlie. On top of all of that, she’s now playing with the San Diego Wave, a new team in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Morgan recently spoke with Know Your Value about the historic gender discrimination lawsuit, mom life, her least favorite part of the game and more.
Below is the conversation, which has been edited for brevity and clarity:
Know Your Value: What was something that surprised you during the six-year period that it took for your equal pay battle to come to a close?
Morgan: There are things that U.S. soccer would do – like put out information or releases – that we didn’t know about beforehand. That would put us on our back feet, and we were like ‘oh we need to respond ASAP.’ Meanwhile, we’d have a game we were preparing for and we’d have to get on a call with our lawyers two hours before a game …So there were things like that that made it really difficult for us as we tried to fulfill our career obligations and play soccer, but also like – [it was] almost a second full time job.
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Know Your Value: How did you celebrate with the other women that filed the suit?
Morgan: We haven’t really seen each other, but we did get on a Zoom to celebrate, and me and Pinoe (Megan Rapinoe) had our glasses of wine. Some other girls had a game the next day, but we didn’t have a game so...
Know Your Value: You wrote a book series for middle schoolers – why did you think your message was particularly important for that age group?
Morgan: I was always looking for books to read when I was younger that spoke to me as a young soccer player and athlete. There was nothing available, and I wanted to write about the lessons learned from sports and the importance of having teammates and shared experiences.
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Know Your Value: I saw you tweeted at CBS for airing bull riding over women's soccer. What do you think has to happen for networks to prioritize women's sports?
Morgan: I just feel like our numbers are so high that we shouldn’t have to compete with other sports like that for air time. Women’s soccer has grown so much, and I just wish that we had more accessibility on TV because you see this huge uptick during Olympic or World Cup years – especially the World Cup because it’s just focused on soccer – but that's because they air the games, they market the teams, they invest more into women’s soccer and they see a return …
Know Your Value: What qualities about you do you hope your daughter admires most?
Morgan: I hope she admires my drive and my ambition in life. And my competitiveness – although sometimes that gets the best and the worst of me. And I hope that she just admires the fact that I'm a working mom and that I want her to be able to do anything that she wants. I hope that she feels supported and loved in that way.
Know Your Value: What’s your least favorite part of the game and how do you keep pushing forward?
Morgan: I dread warm-up. My most favorite thing is putting on the jersey and stepping on the field and playing the game. I enjoy the pressure, I enjoy being around all the fans and I enjoy the weight on me and my teammates shoulders. I really understand the benefit of training and know that that’s where I’m going to get better – but it’s definitely not my favorite part. That said, I spend so much more time on the training field than I do in the game. That’s where 99 percent of who I am today comes from – all that training that people don’t see.