When Alex Morgan signed for Tottenham Hotspur Women this summer, she expected it would be a short term loan. She didn’t expect it to be as difficult to return home was it was.
Morgan, a two-time World Cup winner and one of, if not the, most recognizable faces of the USA Women’s National Team, joined Spurs on loan from NWSL side Orlando Pride to regain fitness and form after having her first child a year ago, with the NWSL start delayed due to COVID-19. She knew the club after the USA spent time at Tottenham’s Hotspur Way training ground ahead of the 2019 World Cup, and two of her Orlando teammates, Shelina Zadorsky and Alanna Kennedy, were already on loan at Spurs. It seemed like a natural fit.
She made the decision to return to the United States in December, but she’s opened up on her time at Spurs in an interview in Goal, saying that it was a lot tougher of a choice than she ever expected.
“When I did sign, I thought that it was going to be a short-term deal. That was my mindset going into it because I thought that the NWSL would start back up. I wanted to also be available for all of the training days with the national team.
“I knew it was also going to be a strain on our family. Being across the world, not having Charlie be able to see a lot of her cousins or grandparents. And for Servando [Carrasco, her husband] to ask him to move there or not be with us if he was going to continue to pursue playing soccer as well I think would have been really difficult.”
Morgan’s time with Spurs wasn’t ideal — she suffered an early knee injury which set back her return timeline, and she ended up making only four appearances, scoring two goals, both penalties. Even so, she said she bonded with her new teammates and was enjoying her time in London, but family considerations were what tipped the balance in her head towards returning to the USA.
“As I went through the season with Tottenham, I really enjoyed my time and I really loved it more than I expected. I got to know the girls a lot more than I thought. And the decision ended up being a lot harder than I expected. And I really weighed both sides for quite a few weeks, I had some conversations with Rehanne [Skinner]. Also with some other people within the club, and a lot of my team-mates.
“I think ultimately it just came down to coming back to the U.S. because that way I would keep our family as close together as possible.
“Given the circumstances, just with the pandemic continuing to really extend into 2021 I felt like it was just best for me to be in the U.S. and be available for the national team and start off a full season with Orlando Pride rather than going to Tottenham late, then finishing the season with Tottenham, then going to Orlando Pride late.
“I felt like I wanted to start off preseason with one team and go through an entire season with one team.”
It’s certainly an understandable decision. When she left, some fans on social media suggested that Morgan’s loan was more of a publicity stunt than anything else. Morgan’s comments seem to put paid to that idea. Everyone, including Morgan, wanted her to have a larger impact on Spurs’ season, but even her brief presence at Spurs raised Tottenham Hotspur Women’s profile and can be viewed as a net positive.
Morgan has now returned to training with Orlando, and is planning on participating in the NWSL season starting with the Challenge Cup in April, with an eye towards participating with the USWNT in this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.