Alex Morgan scored five goals against Thailand in the United States’ opening match of the Women’s World Cup 2019. The American forward is one of the top women’s players in the world and another great in the long line of female players produced in the US.
Morgan has tallied 106 goals in 164 US women’s national team matches ranking her sixth all-time for the Americans.
Her five goals against Thailand raised eyebrows around the globe as the Americans ran riot in a 13-0 demolition of their opponents.
Morgan’s performance should have been enough to put her in the running for this year’s Ballon d’Or Feminin. Yet, Morgan’s decision to play her club football in the US may prevent her from winning the award.
Does Alex Morgan need to move to Europe to win the Ballon d’Or Feminin?
Morgan has played for America’s Orlando Pride in the NWSL since 2016. She has played most of her club career in the USA’s top women’s leagues having joined the WPS in 2011 only to see the league folded due to a lack of funds.
The NWSL opened not long after with Morgan becoming a significant part of its launch. Morgan has been a force in the league and a major draw for fans around the country.
However, Morgan’s decision to play in the US means she isn’t competing against the best women’s teams in the world.
Although the Americans have the best women’s national team, the best club teams play in France, Germany, Sweden, and England. The rise of England’s WSL has seen the profile in this country increase greatly with major clubs fielding high-quality women’s teams.
Morgan’s decision to play in the NWSL could keep her from winning this year’s Ballon d’Or Feminin. While Morgan may be the most deserving on the international stage, she isn’t at the club level.
The 2018 Ballon d’Or Feminin, Ada Hegerberg, plays for France’s Lyon, a team recognised as one of the best women’s clubs in the world. Teammate Dzsenifer Marozsan finished third while Wolfsburg’s Pernille Harder was runner up for the award.
Morgan did spend part of the 2016-17 season on loan at Lyon due to the ongoing equal pay issues engulfing the US women’s national team.
She showed her quality scoring 12 goals in 16 games for Lyon. However, she moved back to Orlando Pride at the end of the term possibly hurting her chances of being seen as the best women’s footballer.
Is Alex Morgan the best women’s football player in the world?
Morgan’s past club stats and international play make it difficult to claim she is not the best women’s football player in the world.
Yet, like American male players, she has the stigma over here head of playing a majority of her career in the US.
Would she have the same levels of success playing a full season, or career, in Europe?
The club season is far more intense at the top of the European women’s football level than in the US. A full season of high-pressure football could see Morgan fail to achieve the same heights she has in America.
Despite showing her ruthless goalscoring ability against Thailand and positioning the US for a fourth World Cup trophy, Morgan may lose out again in the Ballon d’Or Feminin race.
The poster girl of American soccer could potentially do so much more for the game if she moved to Europe permanently. Alas, that looks unlikely to occur.