Alex Morgan gives acting a go, readies for qualifying

6/13/2018 11:31:48 AM

She"s already an internationally recognized soccer player with a World Cup title and an Olympic gold medal. She"s also the author of a series of kids" books.

Now you can add actor to Alex Morgan"s resume.

The U.S. national team forward makes her movie debut in a new feature ""Alex & Me"" about a young player who is inspired by Morgan. Nickelodeon"s Siena Agudong stars alongside Morgan, who plays herself.

""I love the opportunities that have come my way. Honestly, it"s pretty special - I don"t think this gets to happen to very many people,"" Morgan said.

It"s just the start of a busy time for the 28-year-old forward.

Morgan is currently in the midst of the National Women"s Soccer League season with the Orlando Pride. She"s also preparing for World Cup qualifying this fall with the U.S. national team. The United States is the defending World Cup champion after winning the title in 2015 in Canada.

If the United States qualifies for next year"s tournament in France - and it seems a no-brainer considering the Americans are ranked No. 1 in the world - it will be Morgan"s third World Cup.

She first grabbed attention in the 2011 World Cup in Germany as the youngest player to make the U.S. squad. Morgan scored in the final, which Japan won on penalty kicks.

In 2012, she led the team with 28 goals and 21 assists. The U.S. won the gold medal at the Olympics in London.

Morgan was injured during qualifying for Canada and she sat out of the tournament until the final match of the group stage. But she started for the decisive 5-2 victory in the final over Japan, which was highlighted by Carli Lloyd"s hat trick.

Then came some disappointment for the women: the United States was ousted from the Rio Olympics in the quarterfinals by Sweden. Morgan"s eyes were moist with tears following the loss in Brasilia.

Now heading into the run-up to next summer"s World Cup in France, Morgan is closing in on top form. She has 13 goals in her last 15 appearances with the national team and a team-leading six goals this year . She"s also scored twice in eight matches this season for the Pride, who sit in third place in the NWSL standings.

""Obviously, we"re pretty well into our season now with Orlando, and we"ve played some really good soccer,"" she said. ""I feel like I"m fit and I"m in a place where I"m happy. I don"t feel like I"m the fittest I could be, but that should be happening around the end of the season and the World Cup qualifiers.""

The United States defeated China 2-1 on Tuesday night in Cleveland. Up next for the national team is the four-team Tournament of Nations starting in late July.

Until it gets intense later this fall for qualifying, Morgan is just enjoying the ride.

She was introduced to the script for ""Alex & Me"" some two years ago. She went all-in when Nickelodeon and Warner Bros. jumped on board. The film was released on iTunes earlier this week and it"s set to come out on DVD next Tuesday.

Morgan took her role seriously, even hiring an acting coach. The result is sweet, family-oriented fare - similar to her series of children"s books, The Kicks.

""It was so different,"" Morgan said. ""When playing, it"s what I feel most comfortable doing and it"s what I"ve been doing all my life. Watching myself on screen there were so many different moments. You"re embarrassed, you"re proud, you feel like you"ve delivered your lines well, or you"ve captured the emotion of a scene, or possibly not.

""I just have to take a step back and actually enjoy this moment and feel proud of what I"ve accomplished, that I could even be given the opportunity to do something like this.""