Alex Morgan is returning to the United States’ Women’s National Team. More than a year and one baby removed from her last appearance for USA, Morgan has been named to Vlatko Andonovski’s training camp ahead of a match against the Netherlands on November 27.
This is Morgan’s first USA call up since 2019, and her first under new USWNT manager Andonovski. She hasn’t played for USA since the 2019 World Cup final win over the Netherlands, and this call up comes in the midst of Morgan’s comeback after giving birth to daughter Charlie in May, a journey that saw her join Tottenham Hotspur in September. As a result, Andonovski noted in a conference call with media Tuesday that Morgan may only be 60 minutes fit for the match against the Netherlands, but is pleased with the forward’s progress so far.
“Alex hasn’t played a lot of minutes,” Andonovski said. “She played 23 minutes in game one, 45 minutes in game two, which are not significant minutes but are great minutes for where she’s at right now and it makes us happy. We’re hopeful she’s going to be able to build on these minutes.
“Now, in this particular instance with Alex, we’re not looking as much into her performance. We’re looking more into her getting quality minutes because I know the quality that Alex has. She’s already proved that she’s a quality player and she can make impact on this team and she can make impact on an international level. Her ability to change games is something that is always going to be welcome on this team.”
Morgan’s inclusion is hardly a surprise, and likely what she was hoping for when she decided to join Spurs on loan from Orlando Pride. Morgan came to London on loan with hopes of regaining her match fitness and working her way back into consideration for the upcoming Olympics in July. That was also on Andonovski’s mind making up the roster for the team’s first match since March. Considering the inconsistent scheduling of the USWNT’s schedule during the coronavirus pandemic, the head coach said he plans to have little roster turnover ahead of the Olympics. As a veteran, that may work in Morgan’s favor.
“It’s a fine line and that’s why we’re trying to keep a majority of the roster intact and the players that we’re rotating or the players that are coming in and out is a small group,” Andonovski said. “If you look at the players that are in, I would say about 70% will be the same.”
He did, though, admit that the process of roster selection “never stops,” and players remain in contention until an Olympic roster needs to be locked in. “In some ways, it keeps everybody on their toes so they’re motivated to perform and be the best version of themselves,” he said.
For Morgan, that has required a move overseas during a pandemic, which led Andonovski to offer another type of praise for the player.
“We have a great respect for her, for the decision that she made to go overseas and play because it’s a tough time,” he said. “It’s a tough time for everyone and for her [to] get a newborn with her, go in another country in the middle of pandemic just to be able to get back and play the game that she loves and prepare for the next big tournament, I think deserves lots of respect and lots of credit and I’m just thankful the players we have on our team have the mindset that she has. ... She’s a great leader and the move that she made or the decision that she made is a great example for all the young players.”
A call-up to camp isn’t a guarantee that she’ll be starting in November or even make the squad that day, but it is a recognition of her hard work in getting back to playing football again in recent weeks.