The United States women's national team on Friday defeated Netherlands 4-2 on penalties to make their way into the football semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics.
To take the second spot-kick of the shootout, in stepped Alex Morgan. She placed the ball past the Dutch keeper as glee covered her face. The 32-year-old has always been the same since she broke into the first team of the national side -- a lot of flamboyance and an equal amount of excellence.
Born in Los Angeles County, California, Morgan started with the sport at a very early age, but she only joined her first club when she was 14. Quickly rising through the ranks, Morgan, at the age of 17, was called up to the United States under-20 women's national football team.
Morgan attended UC Berkeley, where she played for the California Golden Bears from 2007 to 2010. She completed her collegiate graduation a year early and in 2011, Morgan was the first overall pick in the WPS Draft by the Western New York Flash.
In the same year, she played her first FIFA Women's World Cup. She was the squad's youngest player of the USWNT when she scored her maiden World Cup goal against France in the semifinals, and the team advanced to the finals (only to lose to Japan in a penalty shootout).
Ahead of the Summer Olympics in 2012, Morgan joined the Seattle Sounders Women of the United Soccer Leagues W-League, along with other US national team members like Hope Solo, Sydney Leroux, Stephanie Cox and Megan Rapinoe.
At the London Games, with the American team, Morgan earned her first Olympic medal, a gold. In an epic final witnessed by almost 80,300 people—the biggest soccer attendance in Olympic history—the team defeated Japan 2-1.
Although Morgan suffered a knee injury ahead of the 2015 FIFA World Cyp, she returned to the national side by the end of the group stage. Her addition strengthened the US team as they claimed their first World Cup since 1999.
Hampered by a knee injury during the spring of 2015, Morgan was not at full strength by the start of the FIFA World Cup in June. However, the star forward returned to the starting lineup by the close of group play, and went on to help the U.S. women claim their first World Cup title since 1999.
The USWNT backed their performance in 2015 with an incredible performance in the 2019 World Cup to win their fourth overall World Cup title. As co-captain of a team set on defending its crown, Morgan set the tone with a record-tying five goals in the opening match of the tournament.
Like Megan Rapinoe and the rest of the members of the USNWT, Alex Morgan has been a vocal supporter of the Equal Pay Act, which tries to bridge the inequities between compensation for players on the women's and men's national teams.