Alex Morgan is joining the slew of U.S. women's national team players going abroad in search of regular playing time and competitive matches.
Tottenham announced Saturday morning that Morgan will play for its women's team in the FA Women's Super League.
Morgan will sign a short-term deal with the club, according to The Athletic. She will follow Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis, who signed with Manchester City; Christen Press and Tobin Heath, who signed with Manchester United; and Emily Sonnett, who signed with Swedish club Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, as U.S. players going to Europe on short deals.
As with the other players who are on U.S. Soccer contracts within NWSL, Morgan's league rights will be retained by her most recent club, which in her case is the Orlando Pride. Two of her Pride teammates are already on loan at Tottenham in Canada international Shelina Zadorsky and Australia international Alanna Kennedy.
This will be Morgan's second foray into the European club scene after a stint with Lyon in 2017. It will be Morgan's first professional action since giving birth to her daughter, Charlie, in May. Morgan, whose initial plan was to return for the USWNT at the Olympics before their postponement, missed the NWSL Challenge Cup as she commenced working her way back to match fitness after her pregnancy (as it turns out, the Pride as a team missed the tournament due to multiple positive coronavirus cases), and though she has returned to training, she hasn't played a match since the 2019 Women's World Cup final on July 7, 2019.
As for the reasons why Morgan and other notable players are departing NWSL at this team, there figure to be a few. For one, the NWSL's competitive structure until the scheduled start of the 2021 season is irregular. The league's Fall Series of regionally appropriate matchups kicked off last weekend, but competitively speaking, the Challenge Cup has already come and gone, and a number of significant players have opted out of the current slate of games. The coronavirus pandemic is also not yet under control in the USA to the same extent as it is in other countries, offering another incentive to go abroad.
With the U.S. gearing up for the delayed Olympics next summer, it's imperative that players stay sharp, with the WSL offering a better environment in which that can occur. As of now, there are no national team camps or friendlies on the docket.
While this will be Morgan's first time in the WSL, it won't be her first time at Tottenham, as the USWNT trained at Spurs' facilities before the 2019 Women's World Cup. England has also been kind to Morgan in the past, with the U.S. winning Olympic gold in 2012 at Wembley Stadium. Morgan's goal in stoppage time of extra time in the semifinals gave the U.S. a famous 4–3 win over Canada at Old Trafford in Manchester.
On the international level, Morgan has some history with England, too, notably her "that's the tea" goal celebration in the 2019 World Cup semifinals.
Tottenham's women's team has played one match thus far, drawing West Ham 1–1 in the season opener. It sits seventh in the 12-team first division leading into Sunday's match at Everton. Depending on her readiness, Morgan could potentially debut in the Women's FA Cup quarterfinals vs. Arsenal on Sept. 26.
Morgan's signing with Tottenham is surely being met with approval at NBC Sports, which will be carrying 50 Women's Super League games via its app and on NBC Sports Network as part of a new partnership for the 2020–21 campaign.