Once Pac-12 rivals, Alex Morgan and Christen Press lead USWNT to Tokyo as two of the greatest players in US soccer history
Before they were two of the biggest stars on what is arguably the greatest women’s soccer team of all time, Alex Morgan and Christen Press were competing for bitter Bay Area rivals in the Pac-12 Conference. Morgan, who went to Cal, and Press, who attended Stanford, played for the arch nemeses in the late 2000s and made their marks as some of the greatest soccer players to ever don their respective teams’ jerseys.
Morgan, a striker, ranks 5th all-time among Americans in international goals and holds the record for goals in a game with five. But before she was an international megastar, with a social media following in the tens of millions, she was leading the California Golden Bears to four straight NCAA Tournaments.
1️⃣ epic celebration. ☕️
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) July 8, 2019
Press, who ranks 9th in international goals for USWNT, is still the all-time leader for the Cardinal with 71 goals. The forward took Stanford all the way to the College Cup championship game in 2009.
“I think there is a bond that is developed when you are playing against your rivals, there is a respect we have for each other having played in the Pac-12,” said Press in a 2019 interview.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) May 11, 2019
The duo has helped usher in the most successful era in American women’s soccer. Press and Morgan starred on USWNT’s 2015 and 2019 World Cup-winning teams and have seen the sport explode in popularity. An estimated 20 million people tuned in when the Americans defeated the Netherlands 2-0 in the 2019 World Cup finale. Similarly massive numbers can be expected when Olympic competition kicks off in Tokyo.
Press and Morgan will hardly be alone in representing the Pac-12 on Team USA. Kelley O’Hara, who overlapped with Press for three years at Stanford, will be joining the squad as a defender. Former UCLA Bruins Abby Dahlkemper and Samantha Mewis will also be vying for their first gold medals.
Stanford’s Tierna Davidson, Jane Campbell and recent graduate Catarina Macario round out USWNT’s Pac-12 alumni.
After winning the 2019 World Cup and the 2020 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship, the Americans will be heavy favorites to take home the gold. A win would also help cement this USWNT team as the greatest ever. No team has ever won the World Cup and the Olympics in back-to-back competitions.
Competition gets underway on July 21st when Team USA takes on Sweden at Tokyo Stadium. Follow Pac-12 on social media and check Pac-12.com/Tokyo2020 to make sure you never miss a minute of the action.