Alex Morgan is heading home to Cali, will play for San Diego Wave FC

US soccer player Alex Morgan and her daughter Charlie
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After nearly a decade of crisscrossing the country and the globe for her professional career, Alex Morgan is headed home to Southern California.

Morgan is joining the San Diego Wave, which will begin play in the National Women’s Soccer League next season.

“I think something I’m really excited about is that I’ve made a long-term commitment to this club,” she told The Associated Press. “I see myself being in San Diego through my playing career. I see my family settling down in San Diego.”

The addition of the Wave and Angel City FC in Los Angeles will bring the league to 12 teams in its 10th season. Former Manchester United coach Casey Stoney will lead San Diego in its inaugural year.

Morgan was one of the NWSL’s original players when the league launched in 2013. She spent three seasons with the Portland Thorns before joining the expansion Orlando Pride. She also had stints in Europe with Lyon and Tottenham Hotspur — and she took time off for the birth of her daughter, Charlie.

Morgan, who is from San Dimas, California, feels a bit bittersweet about leaving the Pride, which failed to make the playoffs this season for the third straight time.

“I really did love my time in Orlando, it was six years, give or take, with pregnancy and a couple of other hurdles, world championships and things like that. But it was an incredible run and I just wish that we could have made more of an impact on the field,” she said. “I wish I could have left with more of a grin on my face knowing that we had to accomplished what we set our minds to in Year 1.”

The move to San Diego, set to be announced in a trade Monday, reunites Morgan with former national team coach Jill Ellis, who is president of the Wave.

“This is an incredibly special moment for our club, our fans, and our community to welcome Alex and her family to San Diego. She is an extraordinary person, a great talent and a leader on and off the field,” Ellis said.

Ellis led the United States to back-to-back World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019. Morgan was fixture on both teams.

ALSO FROM ON HER TURF: US Soccer, USWNTPA extend CBA, end NWSL salary allocation system

Morgan first grabbed attention during the 2011 World Cup as the youngest player to make the U.S. squad. She scored in the final, which Japan won on penalty kicks. At the 2019 World Cup in France, she scored five goals in the opener against Thailand. The United States went on to win the title with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands.

She has 115 career goals in 190 matches for the United States.

In an interview ahead of San Diego’s announcement, Morgan addressed the future of the league, which was thrown into turmoil this season.

Former players Sinead Farrelly and Mana Shim came forward with allegations of sexual harassment and coercion against longtime league coach Paul Riley.

The fallout was dramatic. Riley was immediately fired by the North Carolina Courage, NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird stepped down, and both the league and U.S. Soccer commissioned outside investigations.

Riley was one of five coaches in the NWSL who were dismissed this season amid reports of misconduct. Richie Burke, coach of the Washington Spirit, was fired for violating the league’s harassment policy after former player Kaiya McCullough leveled allegations of abusive behavior.

OL Reign coach Farid Benstiti was dismissed over the summer after an incident at practice, Racing Louisville’s Christy Holly was terminated for cause and Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames stepped down last month just as allegations of inappropriate behavior came out.

2021 NWSL TIMELINE: Five male coaches ousted due to misconduct, abuse allegations

Morgan said the NWSL needs to be held accountable for allowing misconduct to go unchecked.

“I think there were just a lot of steps missed, a lot of corners cut and you have to look back and go, ‘We can’t do that moving forward. We can’t cut corners.’ And so that’s what I feel like the league needs to address moving forward, it needs to look itself in the eye and really ask for the players’ trust by showing that they can do it the right way,” Morgan said.

Morgan said a good start would be reaching a collective bargaining agreement with the NWSL Players’ Association. In addition to player wages, safety and health, among the issues she would like to see tackled are the NWSL’s long offseason and international breaks so teams aren’t depleted during national team absences.

“Part of me is very hopeful because of the proactiveness of the players, of just the willingness by the players to be vocal, supportive — really digging in their heels to change this league, and not only make it survive, but flourish,” Morgan said. “Part of me is not so hopeful in terms of the speed at which things are going right now.”

One of the league’s loudest voices for change, Morgan is a staunch advocate for amplifying women’s voices. She founded the digital platform TOGETHXR with fellow athletes Simone Manuel, Sue Bird and Chloe Kim, to tell women’s stories.

“I know at this moment, I want to make sure that I’m able to grow women’s soccer, I’m able to at least weed out the bad apples, and make it amazing for the next generation, for my daughter — but also make it so women don’t have to have second, third, fourth jobs along the way as well. I know that I’m very fortunate, but I realize more women aren’t able to do that,” she said. “I want to make sure that changes.”


Other big NWSL trade moves:

  • Sam Mewis traded to Kansas City ahead of NWSL expansion draft (read more)
  • Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris want to win NWSL championship with Gotham FC (read more)
  • NWSL trades expose need for CBA, free agency (read more)

Kaillie Humphries elevates another fresh U.S. face to podium status in two-woman bobsled World Cup

Kaillie Humphries of USA, Kaysha Love of USA in action at the 2 women's bobsleigh during Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
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PARK CITY, UTAH – Kaillie Humphries extended her podium streak on Saturday at the IBSF World Cup, where she and U.S. push athlete Jasmine Jones finished third in the two-woman bobsled.

The third-place finish in Park City marked the sixth podium for Humphries at the Park City track, which hosted the 2002 Olympics, and was Jones’ career-first World Cup podium in just her second World Cup start.

“This is our first race together, so really excited about that,” said the 37-year-old Humphries, considered the greatest female driver in history with three Olympic gold medals (2010, 2014 and 2022) and five world championships titles. She earned her 29th career World Cup win on Friday in Park City in the women’s monobob.

“Definitely a work in progress. … The runs weren’t perfect, but I’m really happy with our starts, happy with our drives minus a few little mistakes. It’s a good starting point, and we’ll look to grow from here.”

Humphries and Jones finished with a combined, two-run time of 1:37.69, 0.32 behind winners Kim Kalicki and brakewoman Leonie Fiebig of Germany at 1:37.37. Fellow Germans Laura Nolte and Lena Neunecker were second at 0.23 back.

Kalicki and Fiebig broke a 16-year-old track record with their first run, laying down a time of 48.60 seconds and besting the time set by Americans Shauna Rohbock and Valerie Fleming – the 2006 Olympic silver medalists – in December 2006 (48.73). It also marked the second straight victory for Kalicki, who’s won five career World Cup titles including last week’s two-woman bobsled race in Whistler, Canada.

“I was hoping Kaillie would get [the record],” said Rohbock, who is now a U.S. team coach and was on hand to see her record fall. “That first run there, she had that little skid in the bottom, so that didn’t help, but Kailee’s always putting up a great performance. And Jasmine, another great brakewoman, so we’re really lucky that we have that depth.”

For Team USA, it marked the second straight week that a fresh face earned her first podium finish while competing with Humphries. Last week in Whistler, push athlete Emily Renna and Humphries placed third in Renna’s first-ever World Cup appearance.

MORE IBSF WORLD CUP COVERAGE: Kelly Curtis notches career-best finish with top five at Park City skeleton World Cup

“Being able to race with her was really special,” said the 29-year-old Renna, who was a college track athlete at University of Rhode Island. “It’s really nice to be around seasoned veterans. It definitely makes you feel better in the back sled with you when you’ve got a good pilot who knows the track.”

Renna finished in eighth place in Park City with 12-year U.S. team veteran and pilot Nicole Vogt (1:39.04). Vogt partnered with Jones in her first World Cup last week where they finished seventh in Whistler, 1.33 seconds behind winners Kalicki and German teammate Anabel Galander.

“To have an opportunity to be with Kaillie in my World Cup debut – it’s exciting,” said the 26-year-old Jones, who was a collegiate track and field athlete at Eastern Michigan. “I just feel like I have so much more in the tank to give, and I’m just hungry for it.”

Jones is particularly gratified with her performance after returning full-time to bobsled less than 18 months ago following the birth of her daughter, Jade Quinn Jones, in February 2021. The Greensburg, Pa., native returned to training just five months postpartum, having sat out the 2020-21 season. She competed on the North American Cup last year, finishing the season with a win (the third NA Cup title of her career) and a third place in Lake Placid.

“I’m thankful,” said Jones. “Opportunity is the main thing, and I just feel blessed to have my first World Cup podium. I’m screaming on the inside. I may not show it, but I am jumping for joy because I’m just that excited and happy to have this accomplishment.”

She admits, however, it’s not always easy to compete balance a full-time competitive career with being a mom.

“Sometimes it’s a struggle being away from my daughter,” said Jones, whose mom takes care of Jade while she travels. “I try to get my facetimes in every night and just know that when I’m pushing, I’m doing it for her. Hopefully sometime in the future I’ll have her around on the sidelines cheering me on, and that’s my main motivation – that this is for her.”

The BMW IBSF World Cup continues its North American swing Dec. 16-18 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Kaillie Humphries faces IVF journey head on — and collects monobob World Cup win along the way

Gold medallist Kaillie Humphries of Team United States celebrates during the Women's Monobob.
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PARK CITY, UTAH — Kaillie Humphries knew the quest to start a family would impact her 2022-23 season, but it’s certainly not slowing down Team USA’s reigning monobob Olympic gold medalist, who captured her first World Cup title in the discipline on Friday.

The 37-year-old Humphries, considered the greatest female driver in history with three Olympic golds (2010, 2014 and 2022) and five world championships, earned her 29th career World Cup win and her third victory on the Park City track, where she won the two-woman bobsled competitions in 2012 and 2016. Competing in Utah – as well as North American World Cup stops in Whistler last week and in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Dec. 17-18 – is one of the reasons that Humphries pushed pause on her journey to motherhood.

“I’m excited,” Humphries said following the win, marking her second straight podium in monobob following a third-place finish last week in Whistler. “I was excited for this year before it started. It’s part and parcel of why my husband and I delayed the IVF process and starting a family this season. To be able to be back in North America and have the first half of the season here – it’s been a long time since we’ve had that, so I wanted to be able to compete and it feels awesome.”

That’s not to say the leadup to this season has been without its share of hiccups. In fact, Humphries admits that following the Beijing Olympics, she had hoped to get pregnant immediately, but she and husband Travis Armbruster had to pivot when a diagnosis of stage 4 endometriosis made it clear that in vitro fertilization would be the best path for pregnancy.

“Right after the Olympics, I was like, ‘We’re going to get pregnant; it’s gonna be all good,’” she said. “I thought, my body has always performed, and it wasn’t going to be an issue. Fast forward to I find out we have to do IVF. We do the first egg retrieval, and it doesn’t go as well as I had hoped — which anybody that’s done this process knows, you can’t control any aspect of it. And so having to do a second round of egg retrieval, …it pushed everything back.”

What’s more, it brought Humphries’ training to a standstill at times, when she would have to limit all physical activity during the three-week period surrounding the egg-retrieval process.

“It impacted my training coming into this year a lot,” she says, “but I also think it definitely reset my hormones, which turns out I needed. I don’t think was a bad thing. I knew coming into this year, I wasn’t going to be in the same shape as I have been in the past, and I had to make peace with that. I know that each and every race I’m racing myself into shape, and each race is a preparation for January’s World Championships.”

Humphries also chose to share her IVF journey publicly, and she’s documented every step of the way, believing that her story makes it less scary not just for her but also for other women and female athletes who might be facing the same thing.

MORE IBSF WORLD CUP: Kelly Curtis notches career-best finish with top five at Park City skeleton World Cup

“My husband and I weren’t sure that we wanted to share it at first,” she admits. “But I felt it was important just to showcase this. I have nothing to hide. And as much as there are parts of me certain days when I think, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ At the end of the day, I know I’m not alone in this.

“It’s important, I do have a voice, and I want other people to know, as an Olympic gold medalist, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody. Infertility exists in the female body, and it’s important that I talk about it in my journey and hopefully that’s inspired other people.”

She says she’s received an outpouring of support, which has been particularly gratifying as she continues to put a painful breakup with Team Canada in the rearview mirror. Humphries, who was born in Calgary, competed for Canada for 16 years, winning three Olympic medals including a bronze in Pyeongchang in 2018. But the relationship came to an abrupt end later just five months after the 2018 Games, after Humphries alleged emotional and mental harassment by a former coach.

Winning a gold medal in Beijing just two months after her U.S. citizenship was finalized proved to be turning point for Humphries, who commemorated the milestone with two new tattoos. She first added the date of her win – Feb. 14, 2022 – to the back of her left hand and a larger rose and skull illustration to the back of her right knee and calf, all of which commemorate her triumph over that darker period.

“The skull represents a rebirth and a growth, overcoming challenges and/or obstacles and turning something negative into something positive,” explains Humphries, who says she chose the rose because it’s the national flower of the U.S. as well as a symbol of love won or lost. She notes that she has “an actual Olympic one” planned for August 2024, which is when her favorite tattoo artist is next available.

Humphries has also found the silver lining in her IVF journey, as the competition season has been a welcome break from some of the self-imposed pressure.

“By pushing pause for four or five months and competing, it allowed me mentally to know that we can go into all of next summer and all winter focusing on just doing the actual embryo transfers and having a good pregnancy,” she says. “I don’t feel stressed to try and get pregnant right away. I felt like I was becoming competitive with myself, wondering why isn’t this working? Why can’t I do this? I tried to control too many things, and I started to get really frustrated. Mentally, it was hard. So, by pushing pause, going back to what I know — which is the sport, which is what I love – it’s allowed me to control a little bit of my future.”

Humphries’ season continues Saturday as the IBSF World Cup from Park City concludes with the two-woman bobsleigh.