Football

Alex Morgan: It's all about the Olympics

USA star striker Morgan explains her "last-minute" move to Tottenham Hotspur and how it's all about arriving at the Tokyo Olympics in top form

By Ken Browne ·

Alex Morgan set social media alight and Spurs fans' pulses racing when the rumours were proved true and that yes, she was coming to Tottenham to play in the Women's Super League.

The London 2012 Olympic gold medallist has returned to London to live and play her club football, aiming to get into the best shape possible for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in summer 2021.

The two-time World Cup winner told the BBC that her move to Tottenham was "quite unexpected", with her decision to come to England going "down to the wire".

Morgan has scored 107 goals in 169 international appearances for the USA, and at 31 signed for Spurs on 12 September, moving from the Orlando Pride in Florida where she's played since 2016.

USA's co-captain with Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, Morgan has committed to play in England's Women's Super League for the 2020-21 season.

She says that the move will help her to be in shape and on form at Tokyo 2020 next summer.

"The decision was very last minute and down to the wire. I wanted to put myself in the best position possible to get fit and ready for the Olympics and competing in one of the best leagues in the world was the best option for me." - Alex Morgan

Alex Morgan's daughter

Morgan gave birth to daughter Charlie in May, then hesitated and deliberated on the decision to move to London.

"I wasn't sure if I was ready to make the move with my daughter and pull my family apart from each other," she said.

The plan is for baby Charlie to come to London with mom, and husband Servando Carrasco - also a pro footballer with Fort Lauderdale CF in the USL League One - will stay in the States.

With coronavirus playing havoc with the NWSL calendar this season at home, she decided to look for a new club "the Sunday or Monday" before the transfer window closed on Friday, 11 September.

Then with the contract on the table was still "50-50" 24 hours before the deadline.

"It wasn't my intention to go to Orlando and then decide to play for another club in another country but I wanted to give myself the best opportunity to get back to full fitness, playing regular matches and feeling myself," Morgan said to the BBC.

"It's something new that really came spontaneously and that creates even more excitement around it."

What about her home club in Florida?

An Orlando Pride player for four years, the Florida-based club say that she will not play the American NWSL's upcoming Fall Series, but they will retain her NWSL rights upon her return.

Why Spurs?

So why did Alex Morgan choose Tottenham Hotspur?

When the US Women's National Team (USWNT) were looking for a base camp to prepare for their victorious World Cup campaign at France 2019 they looked at sites across France, Spain, Portugal, England and Italy.

"In the end, there was a consensus number-one choice from the coaches: “We want to go to Tottenham,” the USWNT website explains in an article headlined 'Football Paradise: USWNT Finds Perfect Fit at Tottenham Training Ground'.

"Really impressed" by what she saw, "I became a fan of the men's team at that point," Morgan said.

A year later she felt Spurs were the perfect fit for her too.

Morgan the 5th USWNT playing in England

Alex Morgan followed other big name Team USA stars in heading to the WSL:

Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle now play for Manchester City, and not to be outdone by the noisy neighbours, Manchester United brought in Tobin Heath and Christen Press.

But this will not be Morgan's first taste of European football, she played at French side Lyon on loan in 2017, scoring five goals in eight appearances.

But things didn't go to plan and injuries held her back in France, even though Lyon still lifted the Champions League that season.

She'll be hoping that at Tottenham she can rediscover her best football, and show up at the Tokyo Olympics ready to claim back the gold medal that escaped them at Rio 2016.