United States women’s national team and Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan will join Tottenham Hotspur, multiple sources confirmed to ESPN.
The Athletic first reported Morgan’s impending move to the London club.
– Stream ‘Alex Morgan: The Equalizer’ on ESPN+
Morgan, 31, is the latest in a line of USWNT stars joining the FA Women’s Super League for the 2020-21 season. Manchester United earlier this week announced the additions of Tobin Heath and Christen Press, while Manchester City earlier signed Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis. All five Americans played in the 2019 World Cup final.
Sources confirmed that Morgan’s contract runs through the final four months of the calendar year but also contains an option to stay at Tottenham through the end of its season in May.
This will be Morgan’s second time playing professionally in Europe. She signed with Lyon under a similar arrangement for the second half of its 2016-17 season. Lyon went on to win the Champions League that season, although injuries limited Morgan’s time on the field.
Morgan will also be familiar with Tottenham’s training facilities, as the USWNT used them as its training base ahead of the 2019 World Cup campaign.
As an allocated player in the NWSL, her league salary is paid by U.S. Soccer, and there is no transfer fee due to either the Pride or the U.S. federation.
Morgan will join Orlando teammates Alanna Kennedy and Shelina Zadorsky with Tottenham, which was promoted to the English top division this season. Canada international Zadorsky also is an allocated player in the NWSL.
Morgan recently returned to Orlando to begin training with the Pride in advance of the truncated NWSL fall schedule. Orlando coach Marc Skinner said last week that he anticipated Morgan joining full team training this week and playing minutes for the team in its fall games. She has not played since giving birth to her daughter, Charlie, in May.
The Silver Boot winner in the 2019 World Cup, who has played some of the best soccer of her decorated career while scoring 34 goals for her country since the start of 2017, Morgan’s departure removes another star from the field for the six-week NWSL fall season. Teams will compete in three-team regional pods and without any stated plan for a playoff.
Julie Foudy explains why she and so many USWNT legends and Hollywood stars bought into NWSL expansion in LA.
The NWSL was the first domestic professional league to return to competition in June, playing the monthlong Challenge Cup inside a bubble at two sites in the Salt Lake City area. With no positive tests during the event and national television exposure, the tournament was largely considered a success for first-year commissioner Lisa Baird and the league. That despite the absence of marquee players such as Morgan, who did not play so soon after the birth of her daughter, as well as Heath and Press, who opted out citing coronavirus concerns.
The league is also set for expansion, with Racing Louisville joining in 2021, a star-studded Hollywood ownership group bringing a team to Los Angeles in 2022 and reports suggesting Sacramento will also field a team in 2022. But following two-time reigning MVP Sam Kerr’s departure to Chelsea, which predated the coronavirus pandemic, the departure this fall of so many players looking for regular games at least counterbalances the summer optimism while also highlighting the NWSL’s continued rise.
“We assume that everyone is coming back, across the whole league,” Portland coach Mark Parsons said Thursday after losing Heath. “Let’s say only 90%, 95% come back. Or is it higher or is it lower? Big question there. … The quality and strength and the growth that has been made in this tough year has been optimal. To look at the players making decisions, or clubs and players making decisions, I think it’s very case by case.
“I don’t know that we’ll be able answer [what it means for the NWSL] truly until 2021 and we have a look what that looks like in the NWSL.”