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Alex Morgan: The Baby Horse Striving to be the Very Best

John Smith has his say on Alex Morgan’s loan move to Olympique Lyonnais

In order to progress, you must do whatever it takes to get yourself to the next level and push yourself to get better. To overcome the obstacles that are present and erase the uncertainties in mind. To stand out from those who failed to put in the effort and become the focal point for contrasting their decision. Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change will fail to achieve anything.

Alex Morgan is a woman who perfectly follows this ideology. One who represents a symbol of change in the overall sport of football; encouraging more girls to lace up their boots and step onto the field whilst combating the gender inequality issues that are present in association to the funding and payments towards the female players in the game.

As revealed just over a month ago, the ‘Baby Horse’ has departed her beloved life in the south-east of America for new pastures in the east-centre of France. Whilst her comrades in the United States will remain on home turf in 2017, Morgan will be the centre of attention as opposed to her peers following her transition to the French-giants Olympique Lyonnais on a six month loan spell to further her development and establish herself as one of the very best.

Looking to overcome the obstacles of playing in a new country with some of the best players in the game, there will be a lot at stake for the American striker to prove herself in an entirely new environment. ‘I hope that this change will help push my game to another level. I hope that training with these incredible athletes each day, and learning a unique style of play, is exactly what I need.’ ‘They are committed to growing women’s soccer and provide the women with first-class facilities and an unparalleled training environment on par with the men’s team.’

Olympique Lyonnais president Jean-Michel Aulas will certainly be delighted at the transfer, having consistently expressed his desire of bringing the striker to the city of Lyon throughout 2016. With a high-calibre player in Alex Morgan joining the best club in Europe, it is safe to say that the American is at the perfect place to challenge herself in the hope of progressing as a footballer.

Fans of the club have also unveiled their joy in association to the transfer, which should lead to an increase in overall home attendance as well as an even stronger attack for Les Fenottes. With the club looking to reclaim their Division 1 Feminine, Coupe de France Feminine and Champions League trophies, Morgan will certainly play a crucial role across her six-month tenure that will see her play as the club’s main striker.

There are a variety of different ways that Alex Morgan can be utilised by manager Gérard Prêcheu, including a potential partnership with prolific goalscorer Ada Hegerberg. Upon her arrival to Olympique Lyonnais, the Norwegian has been in outstanding form, scoring 88 goals in just under 70 appearances for the club. 2016 has certainly been Hegerberg’s year, winning all club trophies possible as well as clinching the UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe. The striker also earned media attention across Europe after it was revealed that she was the only player to score more goals in UEFA competitions than the phenomenon Cristiano Ronaldo in 2016.

By deploying both Alex Morgan and Ada Hegerberg in attack for games, all opposition will certainly struggle containing both strikers considering the threat each respective individual can create. With Morgan’s flair and pace along with Hegerberg’s dribbling ability and overall threat on goal, the two could produce a formidable partnership that could lead to Olympique Lyonnais bringing more silverware home in 2017.

Alex Morgan in action for the USWNT (Photo by Celso Junior/Getty Images)

As for her fans and compatriots in the United States of America, the loan deal does not possess as many positives. In regards to women’s football in the states, Morgan is one of the biggest players alongside Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Tobin Heath and others. Notwithstanding the fact that the transition will hold positives in the long run, there are some disadvantages that will be present across the six-month loan spell.

Orlando Pride will certainly experience this negativity, losing arguably their biggest player could hinder match attendance and popularity. Many fans of the club choose to attend games to witness the star play her football; not having her there for fixtures prior to the new season could spark problems for the Florida-based team as they prepare for their second season in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Regardless of the disadvantages at stake, there is the potential for even greater benefit for both Orlando Pride and also the United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT). By playing with, and against, some of the top players in Europe, there is the potential for Morgan to become an even better on top of learning new ways to develop and adapt as a player which can be applied to her teammates.

As noted, the transition to a new club in a new country will undisputedly involve many different obstacles for Morgan to face in order to further herself and reach her goal of becoming the very best. Regarding her illustrious career thus far, the prolific forward has remained in the United States, representing a variety of different clubs on top of her country.

Although having a respectable record in club competitions, scoring 33 goals in total, it’s her exceptional performances for the United States that truly deserve the attention. Since making her senior debut in 2010, Morgan has gone on to make 120 appearances, scoring 73 goals in the process. In international competitions, Morgan initially secured second place in the 2011 Women’s World Cup before playing her part in the country’s success in the 2012 London Olympic Games, winning a gold medal. After failing to clinch the World Cup in 2011, Morgan played a crucial role in her country’s success four years later, as they won the Women’s World Cup for the first time since 1999.

Regardless of everything that is at stake for the striker, Alex Morgan is willing to take the risk to continue her journey as being regarded as the very best player in the women’s game. Starting the year with European football and ending it in the United States of America, 2017 could very well be the year of the Baby Horse.

John Smith

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