Pride star Morgan named Player of Year
Alex Morgan has been named 2018 U.S. Soccer Female Player of Year after scoring at a blistering pace and helping lead the U.S. women's national team through World Cup qualifying.
Morgan, who also is a key playmaker for the Orlando Pride, led the U.S. women's national team in scoring 2018, posting 18 goals during 19 matches. She also chipped in three assists. Morgan finished the year with 98 career goals.
She scored against nine different countries, striking first against Denmark before later picking up goals against Mexico, China PR, Japan, Brazil, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Canada and Scotland. She had six multigoal games, including a hat trick against Japan in the Tournament of Nations, and moved to third place in U.S. history in multiplegoal games, tying Michelle Akers (26) and landing behind Abby Wambach (45) and Mia Hamm (38).
Morgan won the Golden Boot as the top scorer at the Concacaf Women’s Championship, scoring seven goals during four appearances. She scored two goals during a semifinal win against Jamaica that helped send the U.S. to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France and the clinching goal during a 2-0 championship game win over Canada.
“It was an incredible year for the U.S. women’s national team, going undefeated, and there were a lot of players that stepped up and played essential parts in leading this team,” Morgan said in a U.S. Soccer news release. “Of the five of players nominated, any one was deserving, so I am incredibly honored to have won this award."
The national team success balanced out some frustration during a tough year with the Pride. The star-studded team never clicked and missed the National Women's Soccer League playoffs. Morgan finished with five goals and two assists during 19 matches.
“After having a club season with Orlando that I didn’t anticipate, I’m just happy that I was able to contribute in this way to the national team, especially leading into a World Cup year, as it was important for the whole team to gain confidence and momentum,” Morgan said in the statement. “To be named captain with Megan [Rapinoe] and Carli [Lloyd], I felt I was challenged to succeed in a really positive way and was comfortable growing into this larger role with the team. I’m also pleased that I was able to improve and evolve in my play along the way. There’s a good energy to the team right now and we’re all really looking forward to getting started next year.”
It marks the second time Morgan has won U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year honors, previously claiming the award in 2012 when she scored 28 goals during the team's run to an Olympic gold medal.
U.S. forward Alex Morgan celebrates after scoring a goal against Japan during the Tournament of Nations in July. Morgan, who also is a key playmaker for the Pride, was named 2018 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year.