In January 2011, Alex became the first overall pick for the Western New York Flash as part of the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) draft. Like many Alex Morgan moments to come, this was one of many outstanding firsts. She was the first California player drafted in round 1 of the WPD draft. On May 1, 2011, Alex scored her first goal during a home opener, where the Flash won 3-0 against Atlanta Beat.
The young star was in for a brilliant season with 14 matches and four goals throughout 2011. The Flash won the WPS Championship and the regular season title that year.
How She Got the Nickname “Baby Horse”
When she started playing for the national team, many saw her as a pretty face who scored goals. But people would soon learn she was way more than that. Her teammate, Meghan Rapinoe, told an online publication that Alex received the nickname “Baby Horse” immediately after joining the team.
The name was a tribute to her speed, long legs, and youth – she was the youngest player on the team. Alex looked like she was galloping when effortlessly racing up and down the field.
Awards and Recognitions
Alex raked up several awards and achievements during her collegiate career. She was one of the candidates for the Hermann Trophy during her junior year of college. It was the first time a Golden Bear reached the top three finalists for the prestigious award.
Alex was also a finalist for the Honda Sports award. By the time she graduated college, Alex had scored 45 goals and 106 points for California. Despite a packed soccer schedule, Alex graduated a semester early, earning her well-deserved degree in Political Economy.
2011 FIFA Women's World Cup
Alex scored a crucial late goal that helped the U.S. place at the 2011 Women's World Cup. She became the youngest player on the national team at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Age would cease to matter, as everyone would soon discover.
She scored a goal and an assist during the finals against Japan, the first-ever player to hold that distinction in a World Cup final. The U.S. national team placed second that year, but a new star had been born.
In 2012, Alex joined the Seattle Sounders Women along with her national teammates Sydney Leroux, Stephanie Cox, Hope Solo, and Megan Rapinoe. The WPS had suspended operations due to numerous financial and legal challenges. Seattle presented new horizons and opportunities for Alex.
During an interview about her signing, Alex shared how excited she was about joining the Sounders. Seattle loved soccer. It was fitting that the city might become home to a professional women’s team in the future.