June 23, 2010
BERKELEY - After joining the U.S. senior national squad for practice camp as well as for a game against Mexico in March, California women's soccer forward Alex Morgan was called up to join the team for a game against Germany in May. The match versus Germany was the meeting of the two best teams in the world, according to the latest FIFA rankings, and occurred May 22 in front of 10,000 fans at the Cleveland Browns Stadium. Morgan, who will be a senior for the Golden Bears this fall, saw 30 minutes of playing time versus the Germans, and CalBears.com recently got some time with Morgan to discuss the match.
CalBears.com: When did you find out you would join the national team for the Germany match? On a scale of 1-10, how excited were you?
Alex Morgan: I found out about three weeks before the camp. I was getting really nervous every day that came closer to the camp, but when I got that call, I was about a 10.5 on how excited I was. Every camp is in preparation for the World Cup next year so I felt very fortunate to get called in again.
CalBears.com: You have previously trained with the national team before. Did that experience help you with this trip to Cleveland?
AM: I think every camp has helped, especially the longer camps. The more I train with the team, the more comfortable I feel. Also, the experience of being around the team not only on the field, but off the field also helps. As I get to know my teammates' personalities more, it can correlate to and help at practices and games.
CalBears.com: How did playing in a national team game compare to national team camp?
CalBears.com: Before the game, what were your predictions about the amount of playing time you would see?
AM: For the most part, the game was very similar to practices. Everyone comes out to practices with 100 percent intensity all the time. The main difference between the game and practice is that Germany is our rival and an outcome like 4-0 gives us satisfaction. Also, there's thousands of fans cheering in the stadium and watching on television.
Before the game, I wasn't given an approximate time I would go in or even if I would go in. I wasn't expecting anything, but I was definitely hoping to see some playing time. I thought that I could possibly go in with 30 minutes left, but I also though there was a possibility of seeing five minutes or even zero. I was ready to play, even if it was for a minute.
CalBears.com: When head coach Pia Sundhage told you that you were going in, were you nervous?
AM: I don't think I really had time to be nervous. We were all warming up every few minutes because we have to stay warm just in case we are needed. I got called over quickly and I was put in within two minutes.
CalBears.com: You saw almost 30 minutes of playing time - what was that like?
AM: By the time I got in, we were up and just trying to keep possession. I focused on laying off the ball and making runs. I knew that my teammate Abby Wambach had been in since the beginning, so I tried to use my fresh legs to run down balls and make runs through Germany's backline.
CalBears.com: How does the college game compare to the national team game?
AM: At the national team level, there aren't as many areas to exploit as in the college game. Every player deserves to be on the field and it is harder to pick out the weak spots in a team. Also, international games are played at a much faster pace than the college level. If someone is tired or not working hard enough, they will be taken out and are not able to return into the game. Whereas in college, players can be subbed and put back into the game. Players might be able to get by not being at their potential in terms of fitness, but with the national team, the pace is much faster and players need to be able to play a full 90 minutes.
CalBears.com: What is next for you with the national team?
AM: The national team goes in for camp on July 10 to play Sweden in both Omaha, Neb., and Hartford, Conn. The release will probably be coming out in the next week or so, so you will have to wait to see if I made the cut!
CalBears.com: How else will you be spending your summer?
AM: Summer will actually be quite boring for me. Other than training and playing games with a couple summer teams, I will be taking a semester's load of classes this summer. I want to be ready for the WPS season in March and the national team for their preparation for the World Cup next year, so I am taking classes in order to graduate in December.