Dress, $265, and jacket (around waist), $595; Lacoste.com. Cleats (painted silver); Nike.com for other styles. Earrings, H.Stern, $7,800; 800-747-8376.
That kind of drive earned Morgan an athletic scholarship to the University of California in Berkeley. While there, she racked up all-Pac-10 honors and was a 2010 all-American. After graduating, she turned pro and in 2011 joined the women’s national team, where she bonded with teammates who supported and encouraged one another. Especially Abby Wambach, who recently retired but was Morgan’s wingwoman on the field. “Having a partnership is so important, and we had chemistry right away,” Morgan says of Wambach. “She was always super positive, telling me, ‘Take that shot. I know you have it in you. You’re going to break all my records and score more goals than I will.’ She instilled that confidence in me from day one.”
And from day one, Morgan has been explosive on the field. Whether the race is 5 yards or 50, whether she has a ball on her feet or not, Morgan will win. Women are inspired by her; parents everywhere are driving their daughters to Sunday-morning soccer practice because their little girls want to be her.
Five years in, Morgan is eager to show that a female athlete’s fingerprints—or, in her case, footprints—can extend far beyond the field. “I want young girls to dream about being professional soccer players instead of just watching the boys go out and play,” she says. She has written a series for young readers, The Kicks, designed to empower this audience. (The next book will be published in March.) “It’s about seeing girls be confident in what they want to pursue,” Morgan says. With 2.7 million followers on Instagram and a slew of sponsorships—Nike, Coca-Cola, Beats by Dr. Dre—Morgan is redefining what a smart, successful soccer player can do.
So what is next? There is an upcoming Olympics to win this summer, in Rio de Janeiro. And a World Cup after that in 2019, in France. But for the moment, Morgan says she has another priority: “working on myself.” And enjoying a little downtime. Last winter, she married her longtime boyfriend, Servando Carrasco, a midfielder for the Orlando City team. Their chaotic schedules—Morgan trains up to seven days a week during the season—can present a challenge. “I’m never just on the couch. Being busy is part of who I am,” she says. “But it’s hard juggling my family, my husband, balancing that time.”
Their lives are more in sync now that Morgan was traded in October from the Portland Thorns to the Orlando Pride, which lets her and Carrasco live in the same city. “Two pro athletes in one family is crazy, but it’s our normal!” she says. They make it work by motivating each other and not letting fame get in the way. “We don’t publicize our relationship that much. We’re already in the public eye, so we don’t really post pictures of each other on Twitter and Instagram,” Morgan says. Their bond is tight, as they dated for seven years after meeting at Berkeley. “He’s incredibly supportive, and I think that says something about his character,” Morgan says. “You have to be an extremely confident person to be with a really successful woman.”
A typical date night might involve a simple dinner out. “My husband is Mexican, and I love Mexican food—guac, sour cream, cheese,” Morgan says. While she focuses on fueling her body, she doesn’t obsess over her diet. “I try to stay healthy, but I have cravings, too,” she says. “Sometimes I want a steak!”
Staying strong will be key for the next phase of her career. “I’ll play for as long as my body can last at this level,” says Morgan. “My goal is to become the best player in the world. Or the best player I can bring out in myself.” Her fans—and future soccer stars—will be watching. “When I leave the game, I want to go out on top,” Morgan says. “I want to know that I made women’s soccer better than it was when I came into it.”
Shirt, $125; JohnGalliano.com. Flag briefs; Southpaw Vintage, 212-244-2768 for similar styles. Silver briefs (worn under), Ack, $90; AckWork.com. Pins, H.Stern, $3,900 each; 800-747-8376. Secondary earring, $1,405; VenusByMariaTash.com.
Hair, Pasquale Ferrante for Wella Professional; makeup, Sil Bruinsma for Diorshow; manicure, Rachel Craine; set design, Larry Drillick; production, Select Services.