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I'm Kelli O'Hara, and my guest today is my teammate, good friend and Alex and good friend is Alex Warren. I have to start that over danger. I wanted to help us.
I wanted to add you were my friend and teammate. I got.
Welcome, everybody, to the very first episode of the Just Women Sports podcast, where we talk to the biggest athletes in the world about the untold stories behind their success. I'm Kelly O'Hara and my guest today is Alex Morgan. Alex is someone who doesn't need an introduction. One of the most dominant and recognizable soccer players in the world. She's a two time World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist. And off the pitch, Alex is an actress, best selling author, a FIFA cover athlete, as well as a new mom on top of it all.
She's one of my best friends. Alex, welcome to the show. Thanks. This is like the most professional at home podcast ever. Listen, we want to we want to make it as professional as possible. That's the goal here. Do I get to keep this microphone? I think that's a Haylie question, actually.
I wasn't gonna tell you ahead of time, but you probably are going to have to send it back because I didn't get a return label. So sorry. You get it after. That's how we get you to do the show. How are you doing? You're in Florida. How is motherhood?
I'm just at Charlie's disposal and whenever she wants to eat or cry or sleep, I swear it's like she's sleeping and I need to wake her up to eat. And then she's awake and I'm like, go to sleep. She looks very happy. And all the pictures you send me. Yeah. I only take pictures of her when she looks happy. I delete the ones that she's crying and immediately know.
I just share the ones that she is happy. Many times she's sleeping or crying. Yes.
So what were your initial thoughts when you found out you were pregnant?
I was really surprised, but I was so excited because, you know, we were looking forward to starting a family sometime soon and we were just surprised that it happened as quickly as it did. But we're definitely lucky that, you know, this little girl chose us and. And then it was kind of an interesting time because I feel like I was navigating my injury with my knee. I was dealing with like us coming back from the World Cup and like adjusting into our teams in the league.
And so I found out like maybe mid August and it was like, what do I do? Because I don't want to. You know, you never want to say anything too soon because of fear for, you know, not being able to keep the baby. So I was trying to navigate that. It was like a little weird, but I had my knee injury and I was like, well, it's kind of like a good excuse to, like, go home now to L.A., where we were living at the time and like, deal with my knee and then be able to take my time and, like, announce on my own terms.
I remember we were at a camp because I got injured. Beginning of August with my ankle. And we had we were texting, we were in the same place for texting and Isaac all not drinking until I'm back on the field like I need to get this ankle right. And so and then we were back in camp and Isaac came. You want to go get a drink? And you're like, I thought, you're drinking. I'm not drinking either until my it's better because you hadn't told anybody about being pregnant.
And I was just like, okay, I guess. Yeah, you completely fooled me. And then when I saw you, I was like, what, October? And you told me I was like, oh, now I see what you did. Yeah, I. So you told me that you're like, oh, I just want to focus on, like, my recovery and like my injury and I'm not like gonna drink or anything. And I was like, that's good.
Yeah. Like I should say that sounds like God. Kelly's not in so I need to get right me right too. So I'm not. So I went to like the V.A. maze with Ash and Ali and I was like, no, like I you know, I made this pact with Kelly. Like, we're just not going to drink until our injuries, until we're healed. And they're like, oh, okay. Like. Didn't think anything of it.
And I was like, dodge that bullet. Oh, man. So what is your biggest surprise, being a new mother?
Mm hmm. My biggest surprise. I feel like shit like Charlie's pretty easy, you know, like for the most part knows between, like day and night and like she feeds pretty well. Like I was really concerned about breastfeeding. I didn't really see, like, a lactation consultant. And I had heard it's like really difficult. She like lots really well. I'm very lucky she's healthy. I obviously like I get concerned over the littlest things, you know, what's this rash?
Or like, why is she making this sound? Or like why isn't she, like eating as well as she did like yesterday or things like that? Or like why is her poop brown? And it was yellow earlier, you know, is like I out so many questions and so many questions. Yeah. Seriously. But I, I think overall it's been like it's been pretty great.
Well, you're crushing motherhood. So excited for you. It's awesome to see you in this new role. But let's go back to the beginning of your soccer career when you were just a wee little thing. When did you get into soccer, which you actually weren't a wee little thing when you got into soccer, which is what I find interesting about your story. Well, I played soccer starting like five or six years old, but I played like for my city, just rec soccer, AYSO, my dogs barking in the background, all sorts of noises coming from this house.
Lots of activity. Oh, yeah. And so I didn't gain to like youth club until like 13 or 14 years old, which is late. Yes. During this time. I mean, I thought it was like a little late, but I didn't think it was like whatever like that crazy. But my first team, I was kind of a practice player and obviously I was super rah, just like fast athletic. I had a terrible touch. So the coach was kind of like I mean, this girl has like athleticism, but she was like, terrible on the ball.
I mean, I was. But I eventually found my place on Cypress Alley, which I played with them from 14 to 18 years old until like I tore my ACL senior high school, got back and was able to start like I was a freshman in college at Cal. So it was yeah, I was like a different path, I think, than most soccer players sake. Yeah. So you played club and then you got recruited to play at Cal, so.
Well, first of all, how did that recruiting process go?
Junior college, I got recruited by like a lot of colleges I Dinga recruited by like UCLA, UNSCOM, which were like the two I think like top dogs. Stanford was like big, but they got really big, I would say, like probably your freshman year, right? Yeah, we had a transition period when I got there. Yeah. So I went on a recruiting trip. I went to Santa Clara, Cal and Stanford the same weekend.
And Santa Clara. Wow. Busy bee. Oh yeah. For sure.
I know. I mean, my dad, he was like, here's our agenda. We're doing this. This.
I can picture Mike doing that. Oh, he is so excited. He was pumped. Yeah. So I went Sinclair. I was like like really small. It's like my high school is like as big as this. Then I went to Stanford and I was like, I don't know, like I don't really feel like I fit it and like I have good grades, but, like, I have to get down on my own. Oh, no, we'll see.
You know, and I just didn't feel like it was for me, really. And then I went to Coulon. I was like, wow. Like, everyone's so free spirited. There's like you just felt it was just eclectic and like just it was so different than what I was used to growing up in Southern California that I was just like, oh, yeah, this is a good thing. You ended up at Cal cause you met the love of your life, which is very important.
I do. Yeah.
You might not have if you didn't end up there. OK, but there's a big jump between, like, starting club soccer when you're 13, 14 and then ending up on the you seventeen youth team and then, you know, going on and playing at a big park. Is PAC ten back then school. At what point did you realize you had it like it factor and I could go far with this. Yeah. I don't know. I mean so yeah I started with Cypress slightly when I was 14.
I started getting like extra training from my coaches, like immediately like my dad would take me to training and like early or we'd say late or I'd go an extra day. Training was like forty five minutes away and it was just like normal. I would do my homework on the way and I feel like I really progressed like pretty quickly. Like I once I kind of started training with this team like a few days a week and games each weekend, but it was way higher level than anywhere.
So I was just like started to get the hang of it a little bit more and like get a better touch and like just be a little better, like in front of goal, have better awareness. And so I started doing personal training and I started, I think odp I started playing with them like six months into my time with Cypress Lee, which is Olympic Development Program. I don't even know if they still have it. I don't think it's like dieser or ECMO.
There's a very there's a lot of different acronyms out there. The lamb doesn't like Yoda view as the Olympic development program for people who are listening. That was the path to get to the full senior team because you're the ODP team, then regional ODP team. And then from that, you would get called up to youth national camps.
So I started with the US state, which was Cal s because California's huge. So they like split the state into two.
And then like regional. And I just loved it. I played every weekend train to, you know, three days a week, extra training, maybe twice. And I feel like I just got, like, better and better, like, so quick. So I feel like one day I feel like I have the IT factor. I don't know. I, I think, like, honestly, when I was coming back from my ACL and I was like a freshman in college and I was starting, you know, just coming back from my ACL, I felt like just really good.
I felt like I already belonged. And even though I had missed out on the last like five months of games and my senior soccer season and everything. That's where I kind of felt like, OK, I like have the IT factor to, like, get there. And that's when I, like, got called into your twenties and after that the full team and we had our first camp together.
I know it's so crazy to think back on. It's interesting talking to you because I obviously knew that you started playing club soccer later, but hearing how you progressed so quickly from. Joining clubs soccer to then making ODP to then getting called into a youth national team camp. And you saying yourself, like, I just progressed really quickly. And hearing you say that, it's like this all makes sense, because for me, seeing you on the net, like full national team, that's how I feel like I would describe you as a player.
Like you just pick up things really quickly. You develop really quickly. Like you learn something like, oh, I need to tweak this. I need to get better here. And you just are able to execute it so much faster and efficiently than most people I've seen. And I feel like that's kind of like your. I never thought about this for but I feel like it's kind of a secret source of yours. You're like. You just excel quickly through levels.
And I've been able to watch that personally. And I feel like another example that's like I said, is, is you with the national team. And so you have to pay for cow. Don't the guys ever beat us?
Sorry to say, I don't think we did. Just so everybody knows. Kelly won Alec zero.
You want a couple of things later on in life? It's fine. But then, like you said, you you get called into your 20s, you go and you play on that team and you win a youth Nash or Youth World Championship with your 20s. And that was like what, your play your sophomore year college sophomore year. Yeah.
Wow. Cool. Well, because it was my junior and then I got snip snip I.
So I was not, I was almost snip snip kick.
Oh my gosh. I should ask you about that but maybe later. That's another story for another time. But so you win world championship. I'm your team. You go into your junior year, your first call up is during your junior year of college to the full team. Pia calls you in and your first call up was at camp during December or was it in the spring of 2010? It was December two. So we were. And that was like year.
Yeah. That was your first, too. And I remember like you and into camp and like you knew all these players and I didn't know anyone. And I didn't know you. And I didn't like. I was like, oh, my God, I feel so out of place. Like it was such a weird feeling because I mean, I guess I was on, you know, you twenty's and stuff like that. But I don't know, like I didn't know any I was so intimidated by.
Well, you were the youngest player there at that point because we it was basically you were the youngest and then the next youngest was like me, Tobin, Chaney, those players and. Yeah, but you like. Yeah. You knew a bunch of those players from the 2006 like you 20 team and I like. Yeah. Kind of got onto the you 20 team and tells an eight like kind of lay. And yeah I went in there and I just remember walking into the ball Ma and Manhattan Beach and I was like, oh my God, what am I getting myself into?
I saw Abby come with Hafidh and their bulldog and I was like, Oh, should I say hi?
Like, I don't know. And I think I was rooming with Heyo. Yeah, she was like the best first roommate because she's awesome. You're very lucky that you got her. Shout out to Heyo or Heather O'Reilly for people who don't know her as hell. So total nerves. So you just felt like a fish out of water when you got there. Oh yeah, for sure. And then in training, I was like ten steps behind everyone. And while the jump from because at that point none of us had played professional soccer, we had just played call or not.
Not all of us, but the kids that were coming from college. I went from playing like in the national championship game against college players to playing against third year olds. Thirty plus year olds. Yeah, and just totally different. Well, also, like, I feel like, I don't know, growing up, I didn't like follow the women's national team like super closely. Like you really had to like do your research, you know, it's not like they were on TV playing all the time.
So I feel like so I did do my research. I was busy like doing my own thing on the field, you know. So I come into camp and I'm like, I literally don't know anyone's name. I don't know like their face that well. I remember there was like a poster of, like old players and Abby was like, oh, looks like do a game like, who's this player? And I was like, no, she's like, that's Michelle Akers.
I was like, oh, shit. Like, I'll remember that. She's like, who's that? I'm like, No, she's like, That's Shannon McMillan. And I'm like, Who's that?
I had no idea about anyone. So do you think that you were just like a gung ho soccer fan in terms of the game? Not necessarily like the national team. That's sort thing, because like you said, you just became obsessed with getting better and like pushing yourself and that sort of thing. But you weren't necessarily thinking, oh, I want to play on the national team. Yeah, I wanted to play on the national team for sure. But I guess I was just like I wasn't going the extra mile till, like, I remember following the team in two thousand eight during the Olympics.
I remember, like, waking up because it was in China, it was in China. And I was I woke up like at 2:00 a.m., whatever, four a.m. to watch games because it was just so the time changed. So I remember then, but that was kind of like when I really started watching, I was really when I like thought like I play on this team before that I was kind of like I was just into college, like.
Do really I like there wasn't. In terms of coverage, there just wasn't a lot of coverage like I remember going on. I think I went on like the U.S. soccer dot com site to like, look who was on the team because, yeah, it's not like there's Instagram. There wasn't social media. The coverage of women's sports was so lacking in it. I mean. Which is bioregions podcast. But I feel like there's so much more now.
But looking back then, it makes sense why you wouldn't even you don't even know some of these huge names that are like legends in the sport because you just don't exist. No. Yeah. I don't even know when like Wikipedia started, but exactly. We had to go on U.S. soccer dot com to like, look at like someone's bio and like how many caps they had and like look at their like picture and stuff like that. I mean, yeah, you walked in the Olympics, which is when I watch, I would wake up at 2:00 a.m. and watch the games in 2008.
But other than that, like. And also my mom bought season tickets to the L.A. Soul. I don't know if you felt differently, like growing up or.
No. I mean, I, I one wasn't as crazy about soccer. I found that passion later in life. And in terms of any type of coverage of the team, it was it was only during World Cup and Olympic year. And if you wanted to know anything about the team, I think they had like a blog on U.S. soccer dot com and it would talk about what happened during camp or like who they played and stuff. Oh, yeah.
I was like the parents of the players, probably like, oh, how did how did you. Oh, so great. Yeah. So, so crazy. But OK, so you get called up your fish out of water, you don't even know some of the players. You end up getting your first cap and your first cap was in the snow in Utah. Was your first cap also back. You know, mine was oh years ago. San Diego, I remember.
Do you play both those games, the same camp? Yes. So, yeah, I remember that game because I think we were both warming up to do go mid like second half. I think I went in like, right as far as I can started or something like, OK, so yeah, I was like, go warm up, you know, and like no one tells you to stop warming up. So like I warmed up for forty five minutes long game in San Diego.
The whole second half, the entire thing happened like I had a bunch of my family there and like I saw you go in and I was like, I'm going to go into like this will be my game too. And for anyone who's listening, that doesn't know what a cap is in international soccer and I guess club soccer to an appearance, we call it a cap and you accumulate number of caps of your career and you get a cap, you get an appearance if you even step on the field during game.
So when I started playing soccer, like with the national team, I don't know when Cap was either. Yeah, me either. The things you learn as you go on, how do you ever play in the snow before? Before I think that I had played in like flurries but nothing like I mean there was full on. It was the the field was covered in snow.
There was you can. Yeah. That the game should have never been played. They really shovel the snow off of inside the eighteen yard box. But other than that it was like a foot of snow. Right. So like and I just thought oh but it was like at six it was significant inches. Yes. Correct. On the yellow was more than I had ever seen in my life combined my entire life. This is all the same from Southern California.
Yeah. So I just remember going into halftime, I had no idea what I was doing. It was like the worst first cap ever by all I know is Abby side. When we score, we're gonna do Snow Angels. So she scored and I did a snow angel. And after the game, my feet were numb, my hands were numb. And Cheryl Bailey, our team coordinator, came up to me, was like, Oh, you're so funny playing Alex me and pure laughing at how you were playing.
You were playing like a normal game, but like there was snow. You can't dribble and snow like you're so funny. And I was like, oh my God.
I was like, oh my God. I humiliated myself. I'm never going to be back, like, called back and like. And then it was fine because back then, like, your first cap was like third like it's in the average anyways. Everyone knows surgeries. That was I was very different from San Diego. True. Yeah. Funny story about caps. My 100th cap was in San Diego actually all my family way. And afterwards we had like a hundred cap party for me.
I remember it. Good. Yeah. Did you see the decorations? There was a hundred hats around the house. I probably noticed that. Yeah, it was you know, it was a great way. Yeah, it was really fun. So you get called in 2010 and I remember sitting down with Pia and her being like, I'm going to put you on contract and because you're my plans for potentially making the 2011 World Cup. And I remember thinking about like, oh my God, I have an opportunity to make the World Cup team like this crazy.
You obviously Gotthold and started playing your progression through even just that year was crazy cause I feel like, like I was like oh Alex just cemented herself on this team was when we. Played Italy. I wasn't there. I didn't make qualifying. Oh, really? Oh, yeah, I did those last roster.
I was a loser back then.
I roomed with Tina Ellickson or Tina DiMartino. Sorry. Not qualified. Yes. In Italy, a member like Pia. I think she dropped a few people. You were one of the. I didn't realize it. No, I didn't even go to Mexico. So people who don't know. So the way it works is before a major tournament, World Cup or Olympics, you have to go through a qualifying tournament. And ours was in the fall of 2010 for the 2011 World Cup.
And it was held in Mexico. And the way it works for the World Cup is the top two teams. So we play a tournament. And then the two teams that make the final automatic bid into the World Cup. And then the two teams that are in the semis are not semis. The third place game. If you win, you make it right. You get we get three bids for a region in the world now.
But back then, in 2010, it was like that third team. So we we are third place. We had to do a playoff against that order plugs. Right. That also had like that playoff position, which was Italy. Yes. So the different regions around the world. Each one has a different number of slots that they can have teams go to the World Cup. And so we we I wasn't there. But national team goes, Mexico loses in the semis.
So you guys are in the third place game. I mean, when craziest game. I mean, it was played in a baseball field and like we were literally having trash, like, thrown at us. And that's when Abby split her head open. Right. Splitting the time.
And then on the side of the field, she was like, just staple me up. And I was like, oh, my gosh. Like, I would never do that.
And she just, like, literally went back on the field two minutes later. Unfortunately, we lost. It was like the first time we had lost to Mexico and I don't ever really ever see. So we had to go to Italy, do a home and away against in Italy first, like a little outside of Venice. I don't know where it was, but it was like I think an hour outside of Venice. And then our home game was in Chicago, which, aside from the snow game, was the coldest game I had ever not played and ever sat on the bench.
And it was like the windburn, holy crap.
But you played in the game in Italy, played them and we're tied zero zero. Right. Teams tied zero zero. Yeah. Come on. And you score with how many? Couple minutes. I think it was like but there was five minutes to extra time and I scored like ninety three fifty or something like that. That was another game. I warmed up like 40 minutes and finally like Dawn and Pia were like oh. I was like really. The marathon.
The marathon. I'm not tired. By the time I go in, I know I'm not so sure I'm done.
But you score this goal, which like people don't I mean, in my mind, like I said, this is I was like, oh, Alex just cemented herself. Like, that was huge. She took this opportunity to she just scored on. And one of the biggest pressure moments, I think, that we have ever experience as a team. But this was like go to the World Cup or not go to the World Cup. And that was so important.
The fact that you came on and scored in Italy against Italy got the win for the team. We go back. We won that game one zero in Chicago and then we qualify. So we're going into the World Cup, beating into those liberal cup. Were you just like, I just want to make the team or were you I want a starting spot. Like, what was your mindset going on? Because you're young, you're like the youngest player on the team at that point.
I don't know how you felt, but yeah, I was like, of course, I was fighting for a spot. And like, if I was starting, that would've been amazing, but like, completely unrealistic. He knows, like, Pia had her players and that was, you know, you didn't break into the starting lineup without, like, inching towards it for like years. I feel like I remember Lauren Cheney and and Megan Rapinoe. They were kind of going in and out of a starting spot.
And I remember Pino was like our winger because we were playing for four, too. She was like, I think I left. Yeah. Outside midfielder And the night before the opening game, they're like, oh, and like on TV, the commentators are like, oh, and we just got word that, like, this is a starting lineup tomorrow. And they like announced the starting lineup, which is so weird to think back to, like, wow, how do they have.
Why did they have that? And then Lauren Cheney was like outside midfielder. And we're like, wait, Lauren, she is like a forward flush center midfielder. Why she playing outside mid and like, we're all sitting watching the TV with Lauren and you like we're like, oh my God, this is so weird. Yeah, that was that was wild. What, more wild flowers. Crazy, because, like, the lineup never change. And then it was like, oh, surprise.
And you don't get to hear from it from the coach but from the commentators on TV. Yeah. Those crazy I was notorious for having. She had her starting lineup and you weren't breaking and you might get a sub, but. Yeah. I don't know about you, but I didn't start. I want to hear about your seat, your sorry too. I didn't start a game until the 2012 Olympic qualifying tournament. And from that moment on, when I started, I was starting like like, oh, here's a starting.
Like, you get to start for this game. But then we'll take it away from you. And then you did say like it was. No, it was like when you break in the starting lineup like you are. You got that spot. Yeah, for sure. So but you did. You had a huge 2010 World Cup as a sub. You came off the bench and you were the first player ever to score a goal and assist in the World Cup final.
Like. Did you get up? I didn't even know that. Yeah, well, my people did. You're 21 years old and you basically burst onto the scene for this team on the biggest stage possible in the biggest game of your life. And how did you handle that? Were you Drew that drew you to this liberal country like, oh, I want to like I'm just going to be ready. I'm going to be you know, I'm gonna be.
I'm going to make an impact. Right. Go into. Were you terrified? Like what? No, I think I started terrified. But then, like, by the second game, I was like, okay, like, this is my role. And like, I'm going to execute it, like, so well, I'm going to get my 30 minutes in, like the defenders are going to be worn down, like I'm going to score goals.
And then the third game comes. It's on my birthday. I remember we were playing Sweden and I didn't get sub debt and it was my birthday. And I just sat on the bench and I remember I like, cried after the game because I was like my birthday and I was like, no. So silly. But I feel like I kind of got complacent. Like, this is my spot. Like, I'm going to be coming in every so that kind of like put me in my place, like, OK, you have to work for every minute you get on the field, you have to work for it.
So after that game, which I think we lost. She's so weird. Thinking back to that. Oh yeah. That's why we played Brazil in the quarterfinals, because we didn't go out of our group first. Jesus. Then if we went to play Brazil in the quarterfinals, we wouldn't have the epic Abby heter goal. And that, I feel like catapulted us in two people actually talking about the guy that changed things. OK. So I just want to stop talking about myself for a second because literally that game change things I'm telling you, like remember leading into the 2011 World Cup?
I think on our send off game we played in Five Thousand People, Red Bull Arena five, 5000. And I feel like they put that and it was maybe like three. It was really not in leading. It's not to like 2010. Like we, you know, maybe five thousand, maybe eight if we were like lucky like in our own Hartford, but otherwise, yeah, it was like grim and then not game like change everything. Abbi's header changed everything.
And then we came back from the World Cup after losing to Japan, completely heartbroken, like it was devastating because we were like, better team. We're like, we're gonna win this thing after beating Brazil. We don't win the thing.
And then, like, the country was like, oh, my God, congratulations. Like you guys did so well, like invite. I remember I was like the entourage from here and we were in New York doing like being pulled in all these directions. And I was like, we just lost. Like, everyone knows, we just lost. There was the weirdest feeling. I'm sure you felt that way, too. Yeah. I remember pulling into Times Square where restaged we can't we flew back into New York and had to do media the next day and pulling in and our bus there just being mobs of people around our bus, pulling into our hotel.
We were like, we lost. It was the way it is. I really feel so excited. I was like crying. Still, people are celebrating. And I was like, why are you celebrating? Like, this is weird. Like, I don't know. It was the oddest thing. Yes, crazy. But also it changed soccer. I think like that moment. I absolutely agree with you. Is there anything else you think contributed to that shift in our popularity or was it was it bad?
Yeah, I think we had like a great, like, story line. I think it was like obvious header was that game. It was also that like it was likely on a normal TV channel rather than it being like hit in in like wherever not even on TV. And women's soccer was being more recognized, I think more and more as well. But yeah, I don't know exactly like why it caught on, but I think yeah, I was definitely from like the quarters to the final you just saw like the viewership and every single game, like I think that I remember like Twitter was kind of like becoming big in that, you know, like I said, time was starting.
I feel like I remember I went from like five thousand followers to like two hundred and like three days. I was like, what is going on? So you are these people. Yeah. So you news. I was like, I know I need to be careful what I say and delete everything I regret now, but I feel like it was it was definitely like those like two weeks like change shot or now change our path in the future. Women's soccer in the US.
I absolutely agree with you because it just yeah. I think it just that catapulted us, I think into the media landscape. People start talking about everyone got ramped up and and was so excited. But you have an incredible tournament. I mean, obviously not when but you personally do so well for yourself in the position that you were given, in the role that you were given. Like you said, you become a starter in 2012. You cross the 2012 Olympics, still remember your header and we crush the 2012.
Yeah, we did.
Because the changed all of it to me. We win a gold medal. That was just it was awesome. It was we went a gold medal and party a long after.
We put our Stanford Cal faux problems behind us and we become best friends in that moment, we were roommates throughout the tournament and through the end and in the village.
We definitely have some good memories of that.
Yeah. Which will forever stay between us. So nobody even try to break that, OK? No one or any trait that bonder. It's our secret. Yeah.
Yeah. We were idiots. Let's just put it that way. I wanna talk about. Because this kind of coincides the one back Morgan connection. Just like I feel like that the two of you guys played so well together and she was such like a mentor to you and helped your game. But then I feel like you elevated hers and it was really cool to watch. Like, how big of an impact do you think Abby had on you as a player, but then also as a person?
Huge. I mean, Abby was like an amazing leader. You know, she just like was the glue to the team. I think that the team was kind of a little like lost once she retired because it was like we don't have this, like, obnoxiously loud person aggressively instilling confidence into this team. And she did that like every day. You know, she and self-confidence in me. She wanted to help elevate my game, elevate her game, like talk about how we can score more goals and give each other more assists in this match.
So it was yeah, she was an incredible teammate and just person and in general, just teammate, leader, captain. Everything. I feel like the two of you guys, because you guys are both up for Player of the Year in the whole world. And you guys both went to it was in Switzerland then, right? Yeah. And she won that year. But it was just so cool to see the two of you. I was like, these two are like the most iconic forwards and all of football right now.
And I thought it was like a perfect cap to the year because 2012 was just an incredible year for our team. But you guys personally and you individually and obviously us, because we cemented our friendship in Manhattan Beach and we lived together for the off season and we did.
All right. So we we win in 2012. We go to 2015. We win a World Cup there. That was wild. Just even all of the things that happened through the years of, like, you go from a starter and then you have to maintain that. How do you feel like you've been able to maintain this fire and this level for so long and to, like, consistently be the best? I think, like what you've said before, about like my secret sauce, like just being able to progress and adapt.
I think, like, I've just been able to adapt. Like, that's something that whenever a coach comes and, you know, like I'm always ready to I'm always ready for any changes necessary or like a way to adapt my game or what's like asked of me. I feel like I'm pretty coachable and I just like I actually like I want to continue to improve. I feel like if I'm like dedicating my life right now to this sport and living out my dream, like, I might as well make most of it.
And I feel like in no way have I ever, like, coasted. So I think just like adaptability has helped. I totally agree. You do? Yeah, I would. I would say that is very true. All right. So we're fast forwarding to 2019 World Cup. We obviously we went to 2015. It was awesome. But I think we're kind of like not surprised by winning in 2015, but we haven't won in so long.
Yeah. Yeah, I like we win, but then we're like, oh my.
But then we have 2016, we lose. And I, I think that 2016 in Rio and the Olympics losing because we had never lost out that early in a major tournament. But then we have twenty nineteen or like we got to get this together, we got to, we got to win. And I think Germany is the only other team that's won back-to-back World Cups, but it's just like felt different going in to the World Cup. Did you feel that like did you feel like it was different than any of the times before.
Oh yeah, for sure. I mean, I felt like, you know, having Jill coach us slike over, you know, those four years and this weener second go around us having how many was at least 10 players that were on the 2015 World Cup team. Just the amount of experience we had was pretty crazy. And I felt like leading into the World Cup too. We just almost felt like unstoppable. Our confidence was sky high. Not in a bad way.
I felt like we were just like absolutely ready. And 2016 was kind of just like kind of that kick in the ass that we, like we had in the back of our minds, like for three years. And I felt like we were like prepared on all levels, especially set pieces.
But listen. I will never discount the importance of set pieces forever. I guess they're just they're so important and I feel like, yeah, there's so many things that as a team that we did that I feel like people don't know or understand the amount of attention to detail that we put in to certain aspects of our game.
I feel confident in saying that like we worked the most on set pieces, like we. I feel like we worked the most out of any team in the World Cup on tactics. And as annoying as it was like in the moment to be like we're going over this again, like we already know this. Like, how many times are we gonna do this? Like, oh, why is she make, like, you know, just complaining nonstop. I feel like in my head during like during the time leading up to the World Cup, during the World Cup, we're like, hell, yeah.
This is like why we did that. Totally. I was reading a book called Power of Habit, and I remember being like, oh, this is why they're doing it. They want us to be able to literally do this in our sleep if we had to. Like, we could be moving to our positions and know exactly where everyone needs to be with our eyes closed and not conscious. So and then on top there. Yes, on top of that, there was so much happening off the field.
You know, we have the Thailand celebration that people just ripped us for. You have Trump tweeting at Peno. You have your tee celebration. There were so many. There was other. There was like other things that were going on. What was it like for you? Like, were you focus on that? Were you kind of or were you able to to shut it out? Mm hmm.
I don't know. You were there with me. What do you think? I think that as a team, we do a really good job of like containing the bubble, you know, and when we get to these tournaments, we're like whatever they talked about out there doesn't matter. We're here to accomplish the one goal, which is to win. And I remember multiple things happening and not knowing that they had happened in some one of my friends texting me and being like, what do you think of this?
Or I can't believe this happened. I was like, I genuinely don't know what you're talking about because I deleted Twitter five days ago. Like, I very much so needed to be very blinders on.
I guess I felt like we were favorites. And because of that, there was always a story to be told, like they wanted to spend something on us. They wanted to root for the underdog. They you know. So in that way, I was just like, this is normal. You know, this is what media does. And as much as it sucks for us to have, like, you know, target on our backs. This is good for this sport and we're going to win anyways.
And then we'll be able to, like, not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. And so I felt in the moment like, it's fine because we're gonna back it up. Like we're gonna like I. I felt so confident. And so it was it it never liked it here. You know, my, like, vision for what I thought that this team could accomplish. Yeah, I agree. Quick on your team's celebration. We've kind of talked about it afterwards.
And I was like, I don't know what you're talking about. I don't get it because she were like, you know, and that's the team. And I was like, why did you go to the game like this? Is a celebration going to do? Or in that moment you're like, I'm doing this.
So we're getting on the bus. I had coffee and like the camera, like, you know, like the camera is like in your face as we were walking on the bus. And I remember was Ali and I just like did that like walking on the bus. And I was like, mm hmm. I'm gonna do that, Genki. I'm to do that if I score.
And then I scored and I actually remembered to do a celebration because I doubt I never remember to do. And so it was like the first ever I did win. Of course everyone wants to then talk about it and like talk shit about me too because of it and the stories that the country of England wants to kill me for it.
And I was like, this is the first celebration I've done in my entire life. Like, let me live. But it was also so funny because it was England and it's like tea. And it just it was a perfect storm. But I thought it's great. And I was stoked. And your goal. So, yeah, I mean, I was definitely thought behind it. Like when I did that on the camera before the game, I was like, we're playing England and I just.
Oh, yeah, that could be fun. It was it was cheeky. I loved it.
I kind of looked like I was smoking a blunt tool, but it's fine. Like most people sipping tea. So that's perfect that, you know, that story caught on. Imagine if it was like an Al Gore is a blunt after she scores promoting THC use by athletes. So when do people call blunts anymore? I don't know. Like. I don't even know I'm so honored to talk to you about it. Yes. I'm not going to comment on that.
I don't think so, because I don't know. I'm not educated.
I have a child now. I have different things to think about. Yeah.
So we win and we party hard afterwards. Favorite post World Cup memory or celebration? Pool parties like a blur pool party, it was so much fun. Yeah. On the rooftop of the hotel in New York City. Yeah. Because that night it was kind of crazy that they were like, we're going to really manage, like, who comes into the party member, like after we won. And we're like, okay, like we're like you have to put exactly who you want, like on the list, only like four people allowed per player.
And then we get to the party and there's like so many people that nobody knows. And you're like, how did everyone and their best friend and their best friend's cousin and their cousin's daughter get into this party, like, what the heck? Don't tell people this. They're gonna try to sneak in next time.
Well, they figured out. Yeah, the idea. It's fine. Just go. Yeah. Go to our parties are the best. No. Yeah. So that was kind of a little wild and we're all hung over the next day, but we started like having fun on the plane and then we did. We were we walked through security. We flew charter home. So they asked us if we would want to go through the main area concourse where people were and we could get food and stuff or go to like a secluded one and we wouldn't be able to get food like we're all hungry.
Let's go to the main one and we go to security. We're walking next to each other and we see two girls walk. It's 11:00 a.m.. We see two girls walk by with beers in their hand. You look, Migo, you get a beer. And I was like, why not? Why? Yeah, we started. We we kept the party going. It was good. Is a feeling goes quite different from 2015. And I don't know why, but the celebrations were very lively.
And then by the time we went to Aspies, I was.
You're done. Yeah. No, I couldn't go to the after party. I was like, sorry, topped out. I pushed through for one more night. But then I didn't have a voice the next day. So but it was good times. All right. So equal pay. What would you want people to know that they probably don't know about this case? So I think that just like the amount of time that we've put into this lawsuit and just in general, the fight for equal pay has been just immense.
And I've seen some amazing things come of it from other sports within the sport. Also with other countries and just women in general feeling inspired by our story and for and by standing up, I think like as much as me and you and our legal team and our national team can continue to put out like the truth behind things and like sticks to being honest and and trying to facts. Yeah. The facts and making sure that, like, fans know, you know, where we're coming from at all times.
I think that that's all that we can do. And I think just as much as fans can continue to support us. It's been like an extremely long, long, long, long fight. And, um, and it's longer than we ever anticipated, expected or wanted. But, I mean, they they need to know that we'll continue to fight.
Yeah. That's the one thing that keeps me inspired is that I'm like, okay, we're in this for the long haul. And that's it's so much bigger than just us and what we're. Specifically fighting for in this specific lawsuit, just it's yeah, it has the ability to impact the entire world, which gives me hope and keeps going. And I think it probably does for you, too. All right. Last two questions. We do these things, the repeat questions we've asked everybody.
So you've got two of them. The first one, hard work. First, look how much of success is predicated on luck or how much of it is predicated on hard work?
Is this like a percentage or you can give it to me on a percentage.
Give it to me in an analogy. I don't know. What are you feelin? Who? Well, I mean, I.
Well, I'll just go percentage because I'm more of a black white person. But I would say it's like ninety four percent hard work and six percent luck. Cool.
All right. Yes. I can't wait to like put all the percentages next to each other because that's what most people look at as percentages. Really. It's been. Yeah, it's been really interesting hearing thoughts, man. OK. And then the other one, you've accomplished so much already. Needless to say. Where do you want to go next and how do you keep pushing?
I want to go to Tokyo for the Olympics next year. Yeah, I would love to continue playing the sport and doing what I love and raising my daughter, you know, around just a bunch of bad ass women. And what was the second part of that?
How do you keep pushing? Like, how do you keep staying motivated?
Like, how do you I mean, I get this question a lot and I feel like it's like I don't have, like, a good answer. I feel like it's just a soccer career is like a finite length of time and you have to, like, maximize it when you're in your peak of your career. And I feel like it's we're not going to be here forever. And my body is like not the average 30 year old that feels a lot older.
And so I know with like a limited years that I've left, I want to make the most of it beautiful.
Well, there's no one will stop it.
You are am so proud of you. Your mom and now Kelly. Charlie. Why am I talking?
Thanks so much for listening to the very first episode of the Just Woman sports podcast. You can subscribe wherever you get your podcast. And also, don't forget to sign up for the Just Women's Sports newsletter. It's everything you need to see and know in women's sports delivered straight to your inbox. And while you're at it, throws a ball on social. It's just women's sports. Our show was produced by Hayley Rosen, Adrian Glover and Robin. Jawn Murray and Sydney Shot Do Our Research Post-production by Jen Grossman and Clint Rhodes.
Special thanks to Jesse Louis, Sarah Storm and Hayley Cotliar. I'm Kelly O'Hara and you've been listening to the Just Women Sports Podcast. See you next week.