I don’t see Grant Wahl’s story on Alex Morgan online yet, so you may need to rush out to grab last week’s Sports Illustrated before it disappears from newsstands. (The cover is “A Coach’s Courage,” referring to another worthwhile read inside.) Grant’s story is a good read for all levels of women’s soccer fan, from those vaguely aware of someone named Alex Morgan to those who regularly rant about the injustice of Portland getting her AND Christine Sinclair in the allocation process.
That leads us to the first of several things we all learned from this piece:
1. Did the entire existence of the NWSL hinge on getting Morgan to Portland so that Merritt Paulson would follow through on starting the Thorns? Here’s the passage (any typing errors are mine):
Portland investor Merritt Paulson was in talks to buy into the operation. He wanted Morgan, and he had leverage: He knew that the league wouldn’t exist unless he brought in the eighth and final team. Asked if he exacted any promises — say, being awarded Morgan — Paulson laughs and offers and exaggerated wink-wink. “Oh, no, no, no … Look, when the owners put in their requests for national-team players, there’s no doubt that Alex was Number 1 on everybody’s list.”
That won’t make fans from Washington state to Washington, D.C., feel any better about the allocation process.
2. The younger players on the women’s national team have stepped up their studies of the game, watching a lot of Champions League and EPL games.
3. Morgan also sought out Mia Hamm to come out and work with her at the Complex Formerly Known As The Home Depot Center.
4. On a related note, Morgan is sick of the split between the current group of players and the old guard.
It’s been cool closing the gap with the two generations. With [the current] national team it’s almost us versus the ’99ers, which I hate. I want us all to be one team.
Taking her game and the team’s to a new level. Trying to unify all parties. Future captain?