Bilingual Reporter Program: Interview with Thorns FC's Alex Morgan
The Bilingual Reporter program is designed to encourage Hispanic youth to be proud of their heritage and language. Students are nominated by their teachers and then apply to have the opportunity to interview a Timbers or Thorns player or a member of the coaching staff. Following the interview, the selected students are required to write a report about the experience in English and Spanish. With a professional interview, the students are able to further develop their bilingual speaking and writing skills while exhibiting a passion for the sport. The Bilingual Reporter Program is presented by Providence Health & Services—Oregon, Don Pancho Authentic Mexican Foods and Coca-Cola.
Q & A with Thorns FC Forward, Alex Morgan
Written by Gaby Mendez, Milwaukie High School
During my spring break this year I had the opportunity to interview Alex Morgan and tour JELD-WEN Field. Morgan was a part of the U.S. National team who won the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics and now brings her talents to the Portland Thorns FC. This opportunity was a great experience for me because it taught me that you can’t just say you want to reach a goal without working hard for it, and you have to work really hard for something you want.
My tour of JELD-WEN Field also included a tour of the KGW and estrellaTV studios. It was great to see how everyone worked together. I had the opportunity to see where the Thorns FC work out, their training room and the Timbers’ locker room. I was amazed to see how many different careers there can be inside one facility! With all the roles, I learned that to run an effective facility you have to have good communication with everyone. Learning what goes on behind the scenes at the stadium was awesome! However, the highlight for me was my conversation with Morgan.
I felt a big knot in my stomach when a cameraman walked towards us, but when I saw Morgan walk out the door I forgot how nervous I was and I was excited to finally meet her. I shook her hand before we started the interview and I asked my first question.
I wanted to know what inspired Morgan to start playing soccer and I found out that just like me, she was inspired to play the sport by her friends. She mentioned that when she realized she was talented she switched from playing with her friends to playing on a youth club team, and was later influenced by her success on the ‘99 team. Morgan explained that her biggest motivation to start playing soccer was her dad because he pushed her to strive for more and to be better. As she got older she learned that if you work hard enough, you can obtain your goals. “I started working harder than my teammates and my opponents, and things starting coming my way,” said Morgan.
When I asked Morgan what her most memorable experience from her soccer career was, I wasn’t surprised by her response.
“My most memorable experience would probably be going to the Olympics with the national team because it was just so recent...I wasn't a starter and I was only getting called in maybe as a sub, but it was probably the game when we were playing against Italy in the World Cup qualifiers. I came in five minutes before the end of the game and we had to win that game if we wanted to make it to the World Cup and I scored in extra time. That game was the moment I knew I belonged with the team.”
I asked Morgan if she had any pre-game rituals, and she shared with me some of the things she does prior to a game.
“I have a couple pre-game rituals, like leading up to the game an hour before I will do mental visualization, so I'll go in a corner of the locker room, put on headphones with no music on just so I can have so peace and quiet, and then I will visualize myself in the game shooting, taking a player on and that sort of stuff so that way when I am going into the game I feel like I've already done it.”
Morgan told me that she loves Oregon, although she’s only been to Portland a couple of times prior to becoming a part of the Thorns FC. “I've been trying out some new restaurants walking around downtown and I love the vibe and the environment.” I had to ask if she had been to Voodoo Donuts yet and she said, “I’ve heard about it. Every time I come people always tell me to go, and I haven’t been yet.”
My experience with Morgan was really memorable. Even though we only spoke for a few minutes, she made me feel like a friend because she was polite and humble. Her work ethic and perseverance motivated me to keep doing well in school and to surround myself with good people. Her story showed me that if you work hard for something that you really want and give it your all, good things come your way. I really appreciate Alex for taking time out of her busy schedule to speak with me and I can’t wait to see her on the pitch with the rest of the Thorns!