Alex Morgan is officially a Tottenham Hotspur player, but there is a little bit of uncertainty around how long she will stay in north London. Though it is expected that she will return to the NWSL’s Orlando Pride at some point, Spurs announced the signing last week as one that would last the duration of the 2020-21 FAWSL season, which ends May 9. Pride manager Marc Skinner, though, hopes Morgan will not stay in England that long.
Skinner noted that he expects many of the Pride’s stars currently on loan in Europe to be back for NWSL preseason in March, and that also applies for Morgan (via ESPN):
The [deal] is they come back ready to go for preseason, and that will be no different for Alex. It might even be sooner than that. With Alex, it’s a focus point on when we can get in, when’s best, and we’ll assess this all in the offseason. But yeah, I fully expect Alex to be part of Orlando and going forwards to be part of what we’re doing at the club.
ESPN’s Graham Hays reports that the decision to stay or leave will be Morgan’s alone, though. It is worth mentioning that the 2021 NWSL season has not been scheduled yet, and though NWSL seasons usually start in April, 2021 could be a different case depending on the coronavirus pandemic. That said, the fact that the decision remains with Morgan alone is probably down to the nature of contracts with United States women’s national team players.
As part of U.S. Soccer’s financial commitment to the NWSL, the federation pays both the national team salaries and the league salaries of the U.S. national team players. As a result, none of these players have contracts with NWSL clubs — they cannot technically be loaned, and transfer fees do not apply. That may have been a factor with Spurs’ late deal for Morgan, as Skinner said the offer from Spurs came in the day before the transfer window closed.
The unique contract situation for USWNT players, in this case, is probably a bit of a disadvantage for the Pride especially considering players’ desire to be match fit ahead of the Olympics in July. For the U.S. players, individual match fitness will be particularly important as so far, the national team has no scheduled matches for the rest of 2020.