Alex Morgan Shockingly Dropped from U.S Olympic Squad

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In a surprising turn of events, esteemed forward Alex Morgan will not be representing the United States at the impending Paris Olympics. The shock decision to exclude her from the team roster was revealed by U.S. national team coach Emma Hayes on Wednesday.

Alex Morgan, a seasoned campaigner with three Olympic stints and two Women’s World Cup victories under her belt, was a conspicuous omission from the youngest U.S. line-up since 2008. This move bears the unmistakable marks of profound transformation within the team, as its eyes now rest on the horizon of the 2027 Women’s World Cup under Hayes’ stewardship.

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Hayes gave a glowing tribute to Morgan, describing her as a remarkable player, possessing great professional integrity. She confessed to the difficulty in pruning down the team size to just 16 outfielders and two goalkeepers, adding that the decision to omit Morgan, given her historic connection with the team, was a challenging one. However, she also made it clear that she wants to take the team in a different direction.

34-year-old Morgan was sidelined from regular action for over a month with the San Diego Wave after suffering a left ankle injury in mid-April. Despite the setback, she proved her resilience by bouncing back to the field. She was called up on the squad Hayes put together for the pair of U.S. friendlies against South Korea earlier this month.

Celebrated for her stellar performance on the national team, with 123 goals to her name in 224 appearances, Morgan had taken a leave from a recent Wave match, sanctioned due to personal reasons.

In a heartfelt statement, Morgan conveyed her disappointment at missing the opportunity to don the national colors at the Olympics. “This will always be a tournament that is close to my heart and I take immense pride any time I put on the crest,” she said.

Admittedly, the Olympic roster, being smaller than the Women’s World Cup and other tournaments, offers less room for team selection. The U.S. team, led by goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher despite, her recent injury that kept her off the team’s last two matches, also includes a versatile veteran forward Crystal Dunn and young guns Trinity Rodman, Sophia Smith, Mallory Swanson and 19-year-old Jaedyn Shaw.

This team has emerged from the ashes of last year’s disheartening Women’s World Cup performance and the subsequent departure of coach Vlatko Andonovski, which led to an interim phase under the leadership of Twila Kilgore. Emma Hayes, who had previously been coaching English club Chelsea, took up her role in the United States in November, but completed the Women’s Super League season first.

Hayes candidly admitted that regaining the top position on the global scale would be an uphill task for the team that has plunged to its lowest FIFA ranking, No. 5. She underscored the pressing need to bolster the less experienced members of the team and stated, “We have to take the next step.”

In another stirring piece of news, midfielder Korbin Albert, who received backlash earlier this year for anti-LGBTQ+ posts on social media, has made it to the selection. Albert has since apologized and removed the offending posts. Addressing the same, Hayes expressed that she had a detailed conversation with Albert about the team environment and appreciated her effort in dealing with the criticism.

Before marking their journey to Paris, the U.S. team will face Mexico and Costa Rica in a couple of send-off games to be held at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey and Audi Field in Washington respectively. They initiate their Olympic campaign on July 25 against Zambia in the picturesque city of Nice.