Alex Morgan: The battling face of Team USA
Los Angeles (AFP)
On and off the football field, Alex Morgan prefers to attack.
The US striker, who has scored five goals so far at the women's World Cup and will face Spain with her team in the last 16 on Monday as long as she shakes off a knock, collects trophies and advertising contracts while also regularly getting into fights.
She is currently part of the legal battle between the US women's team and their national federation and if the Americans win the World Cup she has said she will snub any invitation to the White House to meet President Donald Trump.
Even so, American companies have long queued up to sponsor Morgan, who is married to Servando Carrasco, himself a professional player for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
At 29, Morgan is the face of women's football in the United States and a magnet for sponsors. She has made commercials for Coca Cola, McDonalds and Nike as well as banks, tyres, beauty and food products.
She was a model in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition in 2014 and 2019.
Forbes magazine calculated that Morgan made $3.5 million in 2017, top for a woman footballer but way behind Cristiano Ronaldo, that year's highest earning male player at $93m, and the top female athlete, Serena Williams, who earned $27 million that year.
The Californian, co-captain of "Team USA", prefers to be known for her goals and her battles as well as her 'Kicks' books for teenagers, adapted for television by Amazon.
- Score to settle -
She is one of the spokeswomen for a US team that is suing its federation for equal pay and working conditions with the US men's team.
"Eventually, you just have to take a stand," Morgan told Time magazine. "How come we've had to fight this whole time, year after year?"
"We have to be the athlete, we have to be the role model, we have to lead the way for the next generation," she said.
"Are male athletes doing that? Are they thinking about anyone other than themselves? I don't know. We do have more than one job within this role, and are getting paid much less."
The Orlando Pride striker also has a score to settle with the World Cup.
In 2011, she was a substitute as the USA lost the final to Japan in a penalty shootout in Frankfurt.
Four years later, in Canada, the US took revenge, beating Japan 5-2 in the final. Morgan was a starter, but hampered by a knee injury, scored only one goal in the tournament while team-mate Carli Lloyd was the joint top scorer with six, including a hat-trick in the first 16 minutes of the final.
Morgan arrived at the World Cup having just passed a milestone.
In May, she became the seventh American player to score more than 100 goals for the national team. Her five goals against Thailand in the group stage brought her total to 106 goals in 165 matches.
At club level, she has won North American titles with the Western New York Flash and the Portland Thorns. In 2017, in a six-month loan spell at Lyon she won the French Cup and league, and the Champions League.
Success in the World Cup could put another of her political battles in the spotlight. She does not like President Trump.
If the US win the World Cup and, following tradition, are invited to the White House to meet the president, Morgan has already said she will not go.
"I don't stand for a lot of things the current office stands for," Morgan said. "We don't have to be put in this little box. There's the narrative that's been said hundreds of times about any sort of athlete who's spoken out politically. 'Stick to sports.' We're much more than that, O.K.?"
? 2019 AFP