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Alex Morgan, U.S. women's soccer star, talks with Kidsday

Kidsday reporters Claire O'Regan, Caitlin Sheehan, and Aisling

Kidsday reporters Claire O'Regan, Caitlin Sheehan, and Aisling McGrath, all from New Hyde Park with soccer star Alex Morgan. They met at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan on Jan. 18, 2014. Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

We met soccer star Alex Morgan when she was at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan recently. She was doing promotional work for ChapStick. Before we interviewed her, she even gave us and other guests a few soccer lessons.

Were you nervous to play for the first time on the USA national team before a large crowd?

I was very nervous when I got my first cap, which means when I played for the first time. And it was actually in Salt Lake City and it was snowing. And I did not want to play and neither did any of the team, but the referee said play on. So I came in on the second half and I played my first game with the national team and it was interesting because it was the first time I played in the snow and it was the first game with the national team. So it will forever be in my memory.

How did you feel when you were selected for the Women's USA National Team?

It was an amazing experience. Obviously getting the silver and going all the way to the final. I wish we could have taken away the title, but I feel it was a great learning experience for me, and to be able to represent my country at the highest level there is in soccer was an amazing feeling.

Who inspired you to start playing soccer?

My parents really inspired me to start playing sports in general. I played not only soccer, but softball, basketball, volleyball, all sorts of sports when I was younger, and finally narrowed it down to soccer when I was like 13 years old. And my parents were always really supportive, but once I got into soccer I really followed Kristine Lilly, and then when I got older Abby Wambach, which is who I play with today.

What position did you play as a child?

I have always played forward. But there were teams where they needed other positions than forward. So I played goalkeeper a little bit when I was younger, like 8 or 9 years old. And I also played outside winger. Outside left winger because I'm left footed a little bit, but forward was always my best position and my favorite.

Did you find it a challenge to play soccer and keep up with college academics?

It was very hard to balance your time and keep up with college soccer and academics and your social life like hanging out with your friends, going out to dinner with your friends. So high school definitely prepared me for college, for managing my time in college, but it's very hard and it takes a lot of commitment and a lot of dedication.

Why did you pick soccer?

I picked soccer because it was always fun for me. I like to run a lot, I like to tackle and a lot of my friends were playing soccer as well. It was just the most fun I had in a sport and I was also pretty good at it.

What has been your hardest loss?

I would have to say in the World Cup losing the final match. I never felt so defeated, so we went home after the World Cup final with the silver medal and we were all so heartbroken. We showed up to our hotel in New York after flying from Germany, which was where the World Cup was, and we had hundreds of fans waiting outside for us, and at that moment I knew that I should be proud with what I brought home to my country. Up until that moment I was just super heartbroken.

What inspired you to write the book "The Kicks"?

You guys inspired me to write the book "The Kicks." I really wanted to give you my perspective when I was younger and what I went through and let you guys know that you're not alone and that you have the support of your teammates and your family, your friends. Soccer's a team sport and everyone counts.

What career path do you think you'll choose when you're done with soccer?

I really hope that I have a long life as a soccer player. So I don't want to have to think about after my soccer career, but I know that I want to stay in the sport of soccer because I love it as much as you guys love the game of soccer, and maybe when you guys are on the national team when I'm old and retired, I can be commentating on you guys.

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