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Rio 2016 Olympic Calympian: Alex Morgan, Women's soccer, USA

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Arguably the most high profile Calympian of 2016 Rio Games, Alex Morgan will look to lead USWNT to another Gold medal.

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Alex Morgan is arguably the most recognizable Calympian in Rio.
Alex Morgan is arguably the most recognizable Calympian in Rio.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Alex Morgan

Sport: Women's Soccer

Country: U.S.A.

Twitter: @alexmorgan13

Birthday: July 2nd, 1989 (age 27)

Hometown: Diamond Bar, California

Cal affiliation: California Golden Bears alum (Political Economy)

Years at Cal: 2007-2010

Olympic appearances: 2012 Lodon (Gold medal), 2016 Rio

CGB, of course, had a Calympian profile of Alex Morgan for the 2012 London games.

Cal Achievements

THE most well known Cal women's soccer alum in program history, Alex Morgan had great individual success during her time in Berkeley, despite having to pull double duty with time away on the U-20 team, U-23 team, and then the USWNT. Even with all of the travels, Alex very impressively still managed to graduate a semester early by completing her degree in political economy in 3.5 years.

Effectively since her freshman year, while recovering from a torn ACL, Alex Morgan was a First Team All Pac-10 selection for all four years. She earned First Team All-American honors in her senior year in 2010, when she was also a finalist for the Hermann Trophy, despite missing significant time during the season for USWNT duty. In just 12 games that season, Morgan scored 14 goals and had 30 points.

On Cal squads that lack the depth of the past few seasons (when the program earned a well deserved boon in landing top women's soccer prospects largely thanks to Alex Morgan being an alum), Alex also lead the Bears to NCAA tournament appearances in all 4 years; sadly, the team never made a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

Morgan is tied for 3rd all-time in goals in Golden Bears history with 45 goals and 3rd in points with 107 in 67 total games played in the Cal uniform (61 starts). In her Cal bio, it is stated that had she not been on USWNT to help U.S. qualify for the 2011 World Cup, she probably would have both Cal records given her scoring pace on her senior year.

International Achievements

Alex Morgan bursted into the International scene when she became a super sub in the 2011 World Cup qualifying and the 2011 World Cup. Nicknamed "Baby Horse" due to her youth and running ability, Morgan quickly established herself to be a serious scoring threat. In the 2011 Women's World Cup, Morgan was the first to ever record a goal and an assist in the final (where she came in as a sub) but USWNT fell to Japan in penalty kicks.

In 2012, Morgan finally earned her rightful place as a starter on the USWNT. Her best year internationally, Alex Morgan scored 28 goals with 21 assists in 2012 - the year when she was named by U.S. Soccer as their 2012 Female Athlete of the Year and put her on the FIFA Ballon d'Or shortlist. Morgan was also pivotal in helping USWNT to win the Gold medal in the 2012 London games. Morgan famously scored the game winner in the semifinal extra time over Canada.

Morgan then led USWNT to the 2013 Algarve Cup win, where she was the top goal scorers, but she missed some time due to a nagging ankle injury in 2013-14. Recovering from a knee injury that costed her two months before the 2015 Women's World Cup, Morgan was not as effective scoring but still played a pivotal role for USWNT on their way to win the Women's World Cup.

Be sure to check out this 28 minutes inspirational documentary, Becoming Alex Morgan, from 2015 below. It does feature a bit of her time at Cal (check out her game tying goal against Stanford in the 15:50ish mark).

More on Alex and her Rio outlooks

The current face of the U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) and women's soccer around the world (see the cover of EA Sports FiFA 16 below), Alex Morgan is easily one of the most prominent athlete to be competing in the Rio 2016 Olympic games. Between her time writing best selling young adult book series (soon to be turned into a series on Amazon) and posing in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editions, Alex Morgan has appeals that reach beyond the soccer pitch. The Cal Bears alum will be counted on to provide reliable scoring for a USWNT squad that has seen mainstays Abby Wambach and Lauren Cheney Holiday (UCLA alum) retire, fellow strikers Sydney Leroux and Amy Rodriguez on maternity break, and only inexperienced Christen Press (a Stanford alum) and Mallory Pugh (18 year old UCLA commit), and Crystal Dunn (a recent North Carolina grad) up front with Morgan. The London 2012 games was her first extended run as a starter in USWNT opposite Wambach, and Morgan is now be the featured striker for USWNT in Rio 2016. While midfielder Carli Lloyd earned the spotlight in the last Womens' World Cup (when she scored the hat trick in the final), when Alex Morgan was hampered by injury just before that tournament and was not at her best, Lloyd herself had just recently (this past weekend) got back on the field following an injury.

Unfortunately, Alex Morgan had saw her international career stalled a bit by a few injuries in recent years. While she still played a huge role in the USWNT winning the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, Cal and Alex Morgan fans may be somewhat disappointed by her missing many of the cupcake friendlies in the last few years (personal note, I have been credentialed to cover two USWNT friendly games in the past three years but both time Alex Morgan was held out due to injuries in otherwise easy U.S. victories...Alex was never made available to the media due to not being active, although she was with the team and even granted a MakeAWish in the snowy condition prior to me having a brief run-in with her at the press lunch room during their most recent USWNT appearance in the Philadelphia area) that could have easily allow Alex to pad her international goals total. I personally still believe that when her career is over, Alex Morgan will surpassed Abby Wambach's record 184 goals (in 255 international matches). Morgan has fallen a bit short of that pace, but if she can stay healthy, she can collect goals in a hurry.

As the face of USWNT and women's soccer around the world, Alex Morgan is one of the leader in the current effort by USWNT to get equal pay as their men counterparts. Morgan is also trying to raise the profile and conditions of NWSL (the pro women's soccer league in the U.S.). In her pro career, Morgan was the first overall pick by the Western New York Flash of the WPS league in 2011, which won the league title that year. As a member of the Portland Thorns in the newly formed NWSL a couple of years later, Morgan won another league title. Recently, she leveraged her way into being traded to the expansion team Orlando Pride, where her husband and fellow Cal alum Servando Carrasco is on the men's team.

For USWNT, anything short of the Gold in Rio will be considered a disappointment. USA's main rival of the past few years, Japan, is in rebuild mode with superstar Homare Sawa having retired from the national team. Yes, the USWNT is also playing with plenty of new players, but Morgan, Lloyd, Hope Solo, (an injured but expected to be on the roster) Megan Rapinoe, etc. are there to provide the team with plenty of experiences.

U.S.A. is in the same group as New Zealand (which include Cal alum Betsy Hassett on the Football Ferns), France, and Colombia. The Americans open play on August 3rd against the Football Ferns. USWNT then plays France on August 6th and concludes group play against Colombia on August 9th.

Alex Morgan's career high international goals was 28 from 2012, she currently has 10 goals on the year. I expect Alex Morgan to surpass her goal total from 2012 in leading the USWNT to another gold in Rio.

We will conclude this post with this throw back Alex Morgan video from her time in Berkeley.

Good luck to Alex and Team USA in Rio and GO BEARS!