When the U.S. women’s soccer team makes its Olympic debut July 21 against Sweden in Tokyo, Alex Morgan will be playing in her third Olympics to go with three Women’s World Cups.
But this will be a different experience in one significant way for the 2010 Cal grad: She will play on one of the world’s biggest stages as a mother for the first time.
Married since 2014 to former Cal soccer player Servando Carrasco, Morgan gave birth to daughter Charlie Elena Carrasco on May 7 of last year.
U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski announced the 18-player Olympic roster on Wednesday, with 11 returnees from the 2016 Olympic team and 17 who played on the winning 2019 World Cup squad.
Other familiar names include Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath, each on their fourth Olympic team, and Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press and Becky Sauerbrunn.
“We have a very experienced roster that has been through adversity at the highest levels, so it’s no surprise those players have distinguished themselves," Andonovski said. "They’ve embraced the challenges and have shown tremendous flexibility and determination over the past 15 months to get us to where we are today.”
Even as Morgan is about to turn 32 years old on July 2, none of her talents appear to be diminished as a result of age or her pregnancy. Playing for the Orlando Pride, Morgan leads the National Women’s Soccer League with four goals entering play Wednesday night against Kansas City. The Pride is 3-0-3 and tied for first place in the NWSL.
One of the elite players in women’s soccer for a decade, Morgan has made 179 international appearances with the national team, scoring 110 goals and contributing 43 assists.
She says the Pride’s busy schedule is preparing her for a ferocious pace of games in the Olympics.
"Playing with your club team has been even more important, so it's been great that we've been on a good run with Orlando, because I've been able to get my confidence back,” Morgan told CBS Sports. “From pregnancy, and giving birth, and everything, getting 90 minutes game fit and kind of get in the stride of things.”
The U.S. team will play friendlies against Mexico at East Hartford, Connecticut on July 1 and 5 before heading to Japan.
Morgan and Co. will face Sweden in their Group G opener at the Olympics on July 21 -- two days before the Games' opening ceremonies -- then will take on New Zealand and Australia on July 24 and 27, respectively. The quarterfinals are set for July 30.
Presuming the U.S team advances to the Aug. 5 gold-medal match, the women will have played eight games in a span of 36 days.
"Understanding the Olympics is going to be a lot of games and short period of time, and we're having kind of a similar schedule with the NWSL," Morgan said. "It's a game every three days sometimes.
“So, it's getting your body back used to that. And it's been a couple years for me, since 2019, since I've been in a tournament with a lot of games in a shorter period of time, so my body needs to get used to that again.”
The U.S. women are ranked No. 1 in the world and are the reigning 2019 World Cup champs. No women’s team has followed a World Cup triumph with an Olympic gold medal.
Sweden, No. 5 in the current world rankings, beat the U.S. in the quarterfinals at the 2016 Rio Games and went on to win a silver medal. The U.S. has an all-time record of 23-6-12 vs. the Swedes. The Americans are 15-1-1 vs. New Zealand and 26-1-3 vs. Australia.
2020 U.S. OLYMPIC WOMEN’S SOCCER TEAM ROSTER:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS (6): Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City/ENG), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage)
FORWARDS (5): Tobin Heath (Unattached), Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Unattached), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign)
Cover photo of Alex Morgan by Mike Walters, USA Today
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo