Life’s been a whirlwind for United States women’s national soccer team players Alex Morgan and Hope Solo since their World Cup performance in the summer of 2011.
In the midst of preparing for the 2012 Olympic Games set to take place in London, England, the two soccer stars made an appearance at Ohio State to speak at an event in the Ohio Union.
Solo, who plays goalie, and Morgan, who plays forward, sat down for an exclusive interview with The Lantern before taking the stage and talking to students.
Though the soccer tandem hadn’t seen much more than the airport, they said they were excited to be in Columbus and on OSU’s campus.
“I’m so excited to be on campus and see really more or less what the student body is like than the city itself,” Solo said.
The U.S. women’s soccer team lost to Japan in the World Cup final, but overall they said it was a great experience.
“The World Cup was obviously an amazing experience,” Morgan said. “It was my first World Cup. We had a great journey through the World Cup. We did end up on the short side of the stick with that loss in the end to Japan. But we have no regrets.”
The World Cup saw both players’ popularity soar and with that popularity, they were able to experience opportunities outside of soccer.
Solo participated in the dancing competition “Dancing With the Stars,” and Morgan appeared in the most recent edition of the yearly “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition” in which she posed in body paint.
“It was probably the longest day of my life,” Morgan said of the magazine photo shoot. “It took probably 14 hours to paint. I felt very uncomfortable at many times during that day, but I’m very happy with the results.”
Solo said that though the players have seen their individual popularity grow, the popularity for the sport has increased as well.
“We’ve gotten some younger, maybe, male fans because of certain other aspects,” Solo said. “But I can assure you that the passion of the game has grown on kind of a broader scheme.”
And the players said their focus is on the game at the end of the day.
“It starts with soccer and it ends with soccer,” Morgan said. “That’s our priority and although we have these opportunities outside of soccer, we need to go back and keep soccer our priority.”
Though soccer doesn’t begin for the women at the Olympics until July, the players said their team is already in full training mode.
Team USA will travel to Portugal, Japan and other locations before finally suiting up in London.
And make no mistake about it. The team wants gold.
“Is there any other way to enter the Olympics?” Solo said.
As for all of Solo’s and Morgan’s male fans at OSU, they didn’t have any chance encounters with the athletes walking down High Street late at night. Morgan said she’s exhausted.
“I’m going to call it a night pretty early tonight, which is sad,” Morgan said. “I wish I could see the city a little bit more.”