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Why Alex Morgan was left off U.S. Women’s National Team roster for Olympics: Age, performance lead to star’s exclusion | Sporting News

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Why Alex Morgan was left off U.S. Women’s National Team roster for Olympics: Age, performance lead to star’s exclusion | Sporting News

Alex Morgan was the co-captain of the U.S. Women’s National Team just four years ago. But as the United States begins to prepare for the 2024 Paris Olympics, she will not be a part of the roster.

Morgan was left off the USWNT roster announced on Wednesday, a stunning move as the team looks for its first Olympic gold since 2012.

“Today, I’m disappointed about not having the opportunity to represent our country on the Olympic stage,” Morgan said on X. “This will always be a tournament that is close to my heart and I take immense pride any time I put on the crest. In less than a month, I look forward to supporting this team.”

Why was the Olympic gold-medal and three-time FIFA World Cup winner left off the roster? Here’s what you need to know.

MORE: Meet the 2024 USWNT roster

Why Alex Morgan was left off USWNT Olympic roster

Morgan is among the nation’s most well-known soccer players, and has been a major reason behind the team’s popularity in recent years. But she has been on the decline in production.

A forward for San Diego Wave, she has not scored a goal this season in 539 minutes. In her past 10 USWNT appearances, she has notched only a pair of goals, neither of which came during the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The lack of production has come as she has also appeared to be noticeably slower on the pitch.

The decision also comes down to another factor: the team’s depth. Including Morgan would mean keeping off someone else, and the United States is loaded with forwards, including several that offer more versatility than Morgan, who is largely just a striker.

“I think the biggest factor is the 16 outfield players to play a lot of games arguably, I hope over a 17-day period. Having a roster that could adapt is essential,” USWNT coach Emma Hayes said in a press conference following the roster release. “We have a tight turnaround between games, so of course having players on the roster that could play more than one position mattered with squad depth.

“But I also think there are players on the roster in the forward areas performing well, and the decision to take those players was one that we certainly deliberated over. But I think it’s a balanced roster. I’ve considered all the factors that we’re going to need throughout the Olympics and one that I’m really happy with.”

DeCOURCY: Morgan’s exclusion shows USWNT is serious about moving on

Hayes explained it was not an easy decision to leave the veteran captain off the roster, and praised Morgan as “an amazing player and human,” but emphasized the difficulty in narrowing a roster down to only 16 outfield players and two goalkeepers.

“It’s not easy making a decision that there’s only 16 outfield players and two goalkeepers on a roster of 18, so it was a tough decision,” Hayes said. “Of course, especially considering Alex’s history and record with the team, but I felt that I wanted to go in another direction and selected other players.”

Alex Morgan age

Morgan is 34, and will be 35 at the start of the Olympics.

Morgan made her USWNT debut when she was 22, making her the youngest player on the 2011 team at the Women’s World Cup. She has made 224 appearances with the team and has a total of 123 goals. With USWNT, Morgan has won Olympic gold, Olympic bronze, two Women’s World Cup golds and a silver and four CONCACAF golds (three in the W Championship, one in the W Gold Cup).

With Morgan off the roster, there will be no players on the roster that have won an Olympic gold medal for the United States.

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