Alex Morgan has assisted on goals in World Cup games and in World Cup qualifiers. She has had assists in the National Women’s Soccer League playoffs and in meaningless friendlies.
But on Tuesday she began setting up what figures to be one of the most important assists of her career by launching her own foundation to provide support, empowerment and an example for young girls and mothers in San Diego’s South Bay.
“Alex is a soccer phenomenon, which is known around the world. But it really is about giving back to the community, and these girls see her as a role model,” said Alejandra Inzunza, a high school principal who brought 17 female students to meet the two-time World Cup winner moments before she introduced the Alex Morgan Foundation in a ceremony at a National City middle school. “Hopefully, they in return give back, they keep community and keep advocacy in mind as they move forward.
“Absolutely it validates them. And Alex Morgan is the perfect person to do it.”
Morgan, 33, said her outlook on a lot of things, including soccer, changed when she gave birth to her daughter, Charlie, nearly three years ago.
And she has played some of the best soccer of her career as a mother, leading the NWSL in scoring in 2022, winning the Golden Ball as the best player in last summer’s CONCACAF W Championship, and scoring 14 goals for the Americans, the most ever for a U.S. women’s national team soccer mom.
Motherhood also influenced the timing of her decision to launch a foundation, as did last year’s move from the Orlando Pride to the expansion San Diego Wave. Morgan went to high school in Diamond Bar, and her husband, former Galaxy midfielder Servando Carrasco, grew up on both sides of the Mexican border, so the trade marked a homecoming for both.
“I’ve actually been looking at starting a foundation probably for the last five-plus years, but it didn’t actually come together until a couple of months ago,” said Morgan, whose 121 international goals and two world championships make her one of the most decorated players in soccer history. “One of the reasons that it’s now is because, for me and Servando, we realize that this is our home. I never really had that feeling in any other city.”
The foundation, she said, is built around three “core areas of impact”: sports equity, empowering girls and supporting mothers, all areas with which the outspoken Morgan, who helped lead the successful fight for equal pay for the USWNT, is familiar. Among the foundation’s first initiatives will be raising funds to invest in field and sports expansion.
Morgan unveiled her foundation during three stops in working-class areas of South San Diego County, beginning at a storefront art gallery in San Ysidro, within sight of the Mexican border. She was then taken by golf cart to Casa Familiar, a grassroots development agency that also runs the art gallery. There she met with community leaders, all of them volunteers and most of them mothers.
“Support of Mom was incredibly important to me,” Morgan said. “Navigating motherhood and the workplace was incredibly challenging, and so many moms do it with so much grace. They do it with all the troubles behind closed doors. They don’t share those. So I want to create a community where we can share any troubles and help moms embrace the challenges and be able to navigate it in a lot better way.”
In her meeting with the students on her final stop, Morgan sat next to Inzunza, a bouquet of wildflowers in a vase between them, at the top of a circle with the girls, dressed in blue Alex Morgan Foundation T-shirts, before them.
Nudged by Inzunza, a couple of shy girls, clearly in awe of Morgan, questioned her in voices just above a whisper. Finally, one student asked Morgan whom her role model was.
“My mother,” she replied, sharing a story about how her mom, Pamela, worked during the day and studied at night yet still found time to ferry Morgan and her sisters to softball, soccer and basketball practices.
Morgan’s family, many of whom attended Tuesday’s ceremony, fed her the dream of becoming a professional soccer player since she was 7 years old, never bothering to tell her no women’s pro league existed then.
“They supported my dream,” he said “even though there was no pathway there.”
Twenty-five years later, she is the marquee player in one of the most successful women’s pro leagues in the world. The moral of the story was obvious for the girls in the room: With an ambitious dream and enough support, there’s no reason why they can’t blaze their own pathways too.
And when that happens, credit Morgan with an assist.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.