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The Next Big Thing: Why Alex Morgan Is America’s New Soccer Role Model

With the Olympics and the next World Cup looming on the horizon, American women's soccer is looking for the next Mia Hamm or Brandi Chastian, and we may have found her in Alex Morgan.

The 25-year-old has a laundry list of accomplishments. She was the youngest member of the U.S. Women's National Team during the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, and won a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team in 2012. Morgan is also a model (she was featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue in 2012) and a new wife. But not too long ago, she was basically unknown in women's college soccer.

Alex Morgan shown on and off the pitch, at the 2012 Olympics and at her SI Swimsuit shoot

Morgan has received attention on and off the pitch, winning Olympic Gold in 2012 and being invited to the SI Swimsuit Edition that same year (Photos: @Beast_BB_3 and @greatmonkeysuit | Twitter)

Morgan played college ball at Cal. Although she was very good, no one knew then that she was going to be the next big thing in U.S. women's soccer. But she knew. 

Morgan said when she was a kid. She told her mom that when she grew up, she wanted to be a professional soccer player and follow in the footsteps of Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly. 

Morgan discussed her early beginnings in an article last year with Soccer America:

"When I was 9 the Women’s World Cup was going on. … Kristine Lilly is a big reason I wear No. 13 today. Mia Hamm was obviously one of the most popular players. … But I just loved the game of soccer. I played all sorts of sports growing up but soccer I was just drawn to immediately. That was the sport I had the most fun with. "

Morgan is not only one of the best players in world soccer, but she is becoming an icon as well. Just like Hamm, Lilly and Chastain. 

She has written a series of children's books which that were featured on the New York Times best seller list, and unlike teammate Hope Solo, who has seen her share of problems in 2014, Morgan seems to embrace being a role model for young girls around the country.

"I know that there is a large responsibility on my shoulders in terms of being a good role model," she told the Oregonian in July of 2013. "Knowing that the way Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Abby Wambach inspired me, I now need to be that inspiration for some of the young girls." 

And in this day and age, the world needs another hero, or in this case another heroine.

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