Sport The pandemic pushed Alex Morgan to move to the UK so that the new mom could get back in match-shape for the Tokyo Olympics
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- Newly-minted Tottenham Hotspur and new mom Alex Morgan has taken her talents overseas on a one-year deal.
- The US Women's National Team superstar spoke to Insider about her quick decision to join the FA Women's Super League side and uproot her life to the UK.
- With the Tokyo Olympics mere months away and the US still struggling to contain the spread of COVID-19, Morgan said she felt it'd be best "to get back to full fitness" and "get my touch back" abroad.
A lot has changed for Alex Morgan — a new mom with a new team in a new country.
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The US Women's National Team superstar signed a one-year deal with Tottenham Hotspur less than six months after giving birth to her first child. Now she's adjusting to life in the UK with her daughter, Charlie, while preparing to return to competition for the first time in a year.
It's a lot to take on for anyone — even an Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Cup champion — but Morgan's love of the game trumps all.
"I want to play, you know? I want to play soccer," Morgan told Insider while promoting. "This is what I love. It's my passion, and regardless of it being my job, it's what I love to do every single day."
That wouldn't have been so easy back in the United States. Since 2013, Morgan has played club soccer in the National Women's Soccer League, the top women's league in America that, before the pandemic, featured all of the active players on the USWNT roster.
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Though her Orlando Pride have been active in recent weeks, they did not partake in the NWSL's Challenge Cup this summer due to a COVID-19 outbreak within their own ranks. The Pride will have played just four games in 2020 when their NWSL Fall Series schedule is all said and done this Saturday. Between the limited opportunities for competitive play and the outsized risk of contracting the virus while traveling to North Carolina and Texas, Morgan opted to try something new.
"I have to look at when the last time I played a competitive match was. A full match? That was the World Cup ... it's been a year," Morgan said. "I need to get back to full fitness, and I need to get games ... Not being able to do that in the US because of the season really wrapping up with the NWSL mid-October and not starting back up until a to-be-determined date next year, I knew that I needed more."
"An individual training environment just wasn't going to be enough for me to get my touch back, to get my speed back, to feel good about going in with the National Team," she added. "Whether that be in November or January, I wanted to be in a team environment consistently so I can feel good going into 2021 — which is hopefully when we'll be going to Tokyo."
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The FA Women's Super League provided her with the best opportunity to do just that. The league — which includes several sister teams to Premier League clubs — has rapidly bridged the gap in skill level between itself and the women's leagues traditionally thought to be the best on the planet, including the NWSL and Australia's W-League. International superstars such as Australia's Sam Kerr, Denmark's Pernille Harder, England's Lucy Bronze, and Ellen White, France's Valerie Gauvin, and Holland's Vivianne Miedema have all recently joined the FA WSL's ranks.
Gallery: A look back at the best photo from every match of the 2018 World Cup (INSIDER)
Denis Cheryshev celebrates after scoring to extend Russia's lead over Saudi Arabia in the opening match of the tournament.
Fans watch from the temporary stands built to extend Yekaterinburg Arena as Uruguay and Egypt play.
Iran celebrates as Morocco's Aziz Bouhaddouz falls to the ground after heading in a heartbreaking own goal in stoppage time that cost his team the match.
Olivier Giroud lifts teammate Paul Pogba up in the air after the latter scored the go-ahead to give France a 2-1 victory over Australia.
Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson stops a penalty kick from Lionel Messi to save a draw against Argentina.
Luis Advincula of Peru belts his country's national anthem ahead of a match against Denmark.
Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic pleads for his teammates to get into position during match against Nigeria.
Marco Ureña of Costa Rica slides in to steal possession from Serbia's Duan Tadi.
Neymar lies on the ground after getting fouled yet again in Brazil's opening match against Switzerland.
Swedish fans cheer their team on to a 1-0 victory over South Korea.
Romelu Lukaku celebrates after scoring to give Belgium a dominant 3-0 lead over Panama.
English captain Harry Kane holds out his jersey with pride after sending a stoppage-time header into the back of the net to salvage a 2-1 win over Tunisia.
James Rodriguez argues with the official over a call that didn't go his way as Colombia falls 2-1 to Japan.
Egypt's Mohamed Salah looks on in preparation for his team's must-win match against Russia.
Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal shows off his new goatee while on the pitch against Morocco.
Luis Suarez pumps his fist in the air after giving Uruguay a 1-0 lead over Saudi Arabia.
Sardar Azmoun of Iran looks on in disbelief as the referee disallows a goal that would have tied the match after video review.
Plus, some ofto compete for various sides in the UK's top league. Strikers Tobin Heath and Christen Press both joined Manchester United, while midfielders Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis signed with crosstown rival Manchester City.
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"I feel like the decision is made so quickly, so it took me like a week or two to settle down here, but I feel good about my decision that I made," Morgan said. "It's pretty exciting just seeing so many international players play here as well as so much top talent domestically."
Though Morgan has yet to debut across the pond, her Hotspur squad has already played six matches this fall and has another eight on its schedule before the end of the year. She acknowledged that Tottenham might not have been the most obvious landing spot for a three-time FIFPro World11 star like herself. Morgan said she sees joining a team that "isn't really seen as one of the top two or three powerhouses in the WSL" gives her a unique opportunity to make an immediate impact for the club.
"It gives me a challenge to really step in and get back to where I was before at an accelerated rate," Morgan said. "And also to bring my playing leadership and experience as well to try to help my team to more success."
But until she's match fit, Morgan will continue getting her lay of the land in North London. Though her husband, Servando Carrasco, didn't make the initial trip to the UK with her, Morgan said she's looking forward to his arrival at the end of the month.
As for Charlie, Morgan says the now-five-month-old has been remarkably adaptable to her new surroundings, which has undoubtedly made it easier for the 31-year-old to make the most of her time on the pitch.
"She's a total rock star and has been sleeping well, which gives me a lot of rest and helps me feel good for training and getting back in with the team," Morgan said. "We've also been doing a lot of day trips to parks and into the city. It's been fun to explore."
Morgan could make her Tottenham debut as early as next week, as Hotspur take on a league-leading Arsenal squad on Sunday. If not, Tottenham's November 4 matchup with Chelsea will more than likely feature Morgan's first live action of the year.
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