Q&A With Alex Morgan About National Team Camp

Jan. 19, 2010

BERKELEY - California women's soccer junior forward Alex Morgan is currently participating in the 26-player U.S. women's senior national team training camp, held from Jan. 17-Feb. 4 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The extended 20-day camp will give head coach Pia Sundhage a final look at the core of her current player pool before selecting an 18-player roster for the annual Algarve Cup in Portugal. Morgan earned her first call-up to the national team in December for another training camp. CalBears.com recently caught up with the busy Morgan to discuss the last training camp and preparing for this one.

CalBears.com: Let's go back to the call for the first training camp. What was going through your mind? Had you been expecting it?
Alex Morgan:
When I received the call, I was actually very shocked. I wasn't really expecting the call so soon, but it was a great call to wake up to on Thanksgiving Day.

CalBears.com: Heading down to the camp in December, what were you feeling? Were you nervous, excited, intimidated, all of the above?
Going into every camp, I am always a little nervous of course. Overall, I was mostly excited because this is what I had worked towards for so many years.

CalBears.com: The December training camp was smack dab in the middle of the close of the semester and finals. After three seasons at Cal, you're a pro at balancing school and soccer during the regular season, but what was it like balancing national team camp and finals?
Having camp in the middle of finals is never an ideal situation. But some other girls and I had finals during the camp. I think I actually performed better because when I got back to the hotel from practice, I didn't have too much time to think about every mistake I made since I had so much studying to do. Also, all my professors were very understanding of my situation, so I really felt grateful to be able to even go to camp.

CalBears.com: What was the day-to-day schedule for the training camp? Where did you stay? What did you eat?
We played two friendlies and had one practice a day the rest of the days. We did get a day off with an occasional morning or afternoon off. We stayed at a hotel about 15 minutes away from the Home Depot Center. The food at the hotel was very good. I always love going to camps because of the food. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner as a team, and it's just like a home-cooked meal, which is rare for me since I don't really cook in Berkeley!

CalBears.com: How do you think you improved as a player after the first training camp?
Despite the camp only being 10 days long, I think my vision of the whole field of play has expanded as well as my technical and tactical skills. There is a great amount of intensity during every practice, so this camp has not only helped me physically but mentally, as well.

CalBears.com: You recently learned that you'll be attending a second training camp with the possibility of getting selected for the 18-player roster for the annual Algarve Cup in Portugal. Does this make you more nervous about this camp compared to the last one?
I think the last camp helped break the ice. This camp, I'm still going in a little nervous, but I also gained confidence at the last camp that will help me this camp. I am just really looking forward to being back on the field with the national team.

CalBears.com: You played in and scored the gamewinner in the gold medal match of the U.S. Under-20 World Cup, which is a huge accomplishment. With that kind of experience under your belt, how did it compare with training with the national team?
The U-20 World Cup was great experience for our team because we were tested physically and emotionally while down in Chile for a month. Training with the senior national team is similar in how I am testing myself every day to my potential.

CalBears.com: Did you idolize any of the current national team members with whom you were training in Carson? What was that like?
I have grown up looking up to some of the players with whom I am now training. Especially looking at players in my position of forward - Abby Wambach has set and broken records that I dream of one day accomplishing. I feel very appreciative to now be able to play with her.

CalBears.com: What is the coaching style of U.S. national team head coach Pia Sundhage like compared to that of Cal head coach Neil McGuire or any other coaches you've had?
Pia's style of coaching is very positive. The team always feels a positive energy with her, and it motivates all the players to strive to play their best every practice and game. Both Neil and Pia are from European countries, so they both bring that style of coaching to America where as the other coaches I have had might not have had that experience.

CalBears.com: Should you get selected to the 18-member roster for the Algarve Cup, what happens next? Do you know what the training/travel schedule involves?
Right now, I am just looking forward to the camp at the Home Depot Center. I know that the Algarve Cup is at the end of February, so we wouldn't have too much time off in between the camp and the tournament.

CalBears.com: Should you not get selected to the 18-member roster for the Algarve Cup, what happens next?
If I am not selected as one of the 18 players, I need to continue my studies and train with my teammates at Cal. Either way, I will be training every day and hoping for another call.

CalBears.com: With the new semester starting up in the middle of the training camp, how will you be handling academics and soccer in Los Angeles?
Well, that has been the biggest problem. Usually, I need to leave in the middle or at the end of a semester, but I have never missed the first few weeks of a semester. We will have time off for studying during camp, so I am hoping that my professors understand the situation and allow me to stay in their classes.

CalBears.com: You're a Southern California native, hailing from Diamond Bar, Calif., which is just 35 miles from the Home Depot Center. Is it nice to be training in SoCal?
Yes! I love the weather, I love the fields, and I love how close to home I am. It makes me feel a lot more comfortable, and it is nice not having to take a five-hour flight across the country!

To read this season's Q&A with the Golden Bears, check out the archive here.

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