After months of heavy speculation and public courting from Olympique Lyonnais owner and chairman Jean-Michel Aulas, Alex Morgan has finally signed on the dotted line for the reigning joint Champions League and French champions.
Good news for Lyon
As one of the most recognisable names in women’s football the signing is a massive coup for one of the best, if not the best club team in the world. Morgan joins from recently founded NWSL side, Orlando Pride where she played a starring role during their maiden season and her absence will surely be felt by the club.
With over 70 goals in 120 caps for the USWNT, Morgan will bring even more of an attacking threat to a team that dominate almost every team they play and is certain to benefit from time spent with the slew of talent at the southern French side, always certain to receive exception service.
At 27 Morgan shows no signs of slowing down but with the next major tournament for the US not until the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France there is no need for the attacker to stay in the US and she can finally do as a number of her national team mates have and dip her toe in the proverbial pool of European football.
Already set for a mouth-watering UWCL quarter-final tie against VfL Wolfsburg at the end of March, Morgan is set to be thrown in at a the deep end, although she may find it more enjoyable than the relatively pedestrian day-to-day ties in D1F.
The move might have raised eyebrows at home but there is no question Morgan will be given the chance to grow as a player in France, alongside some of the best in the world, her game almost certain to take on an extra dimension.
Bad news for the Orlando
A goal-hound wherever she’s been in the past from her college years spent with the California Golden Bears to stints with West Coast FC, California Storm and Pali Blues. Having the distinction of being the first overall draft pick in 2011, Western New York Flash, Morgan enjoyed life as a rookie, lifting the WPS Championship and regular season titles in her first year in the WPS.
After the WPS folded, Morgan moved to Seattle Sounders, her time on the pitch brief (less than four hours) the national start still managed to provide two goals and two assists for the team before making the west-coast switch to Portland. Lifting the NWSL Shield in the first year of the competition with the Thorns, Morgan stayed loyal to Portland and stayed on for the 2014 and 2015 season although her time in 2015 was limited due to World Cup preparations.
A key factor in Orlando Pride’s first year in the NWSL, the Florida club began to wane after a promising start, Morgan often left without the requisite service on either side of her spell with the national team for the Rio Olympics. Her four goals in fifteen apps for the club not enough to see them rise up the table in the debut year, although the team began to gel later in the season, it seemed more like foundations being laid for the 2017 season and now the Pride will have to find a replacement number nine.
Morgan's deal runs until the end of the 2016-17 D1F season in May when she'll return to the Pride.