Entering her fourth season in the NWSL, Alex Morgan will lead the Orlando Pride for Head Coach Tom Sermanni. Having known success at every professional level, she is the face of the franchise and for some expectations will be high for the expansion team and its marquee star.
Morgan, for what it's worth, has already won a league championship in 2013 as a member of the Portland Thorns in the league's first year. She's also won Olympic gold in 2012 and raised the World Cup this past year. She is arguably the most famous female soccer player in the world, if not one of the most famous female athletes worldwide. What is there to prove for Alex Morgan in the NWSL?
The last few years have been successful for Morgan to be sure, but they have also been marred with injuries. In fact, Alex didn't start the 2013 NWSL final; she came off the bench in the 71st minute. However, she did get the assist on the second goal in an eventual 2-0 final result. The fact of the matter is Alex Morgan is a fierce competitor. She doesn't have anything to prove to anyone, other than herself.
One of the few things critics could say about Morgan is she hasn't had the same level of success at the club level. With players like Christine Sinclair alongside her, she's never been the main leader of her club team and, for better or worse, this will be Morgan's team. How the Pride perform in their first NWSL season will reflect on her, more so when she's away on national team duty if the team stumbles in her absence. The expectation in the City Beautiful will include talk of the playoffs.
Around the league, other national team players will be competing against her. In the wisdom of the league, the Pride play the Houston Dash four times. Dash midfielder and USWNT star Carli Lloyd, the most heralded female player over the last year, will be looking to maintain her prominence. In addition to being FIFA World Player of the Year, in which Morgan finished third in voting in 2012, Lloyd was also named to the first ever FIFPro Women's World XI for 2015 -- an honor Morgan was excluded from.
Having recovered from her injuries, Morgan enters the historic fourth NWSL season looking to make a statement. Her play at the national level helped carry the team to victory in the SheBelieves Cup and Olympic qualifying and she's flashed that brilliance with the Pride during the preseason. She has managed the off-the-field distractions without having it affect her game.
Win or lose, Alex Morgan has nothing to prove to the rest of us.