The winning streak continues for US women’s soccer team co-captain and star forward Alex Morgan, who gave an inspiring speech on the importance of investing in women as she accepted her award for Best Female Athlete at the ESPYS.
After a record-breaking streak and outstanding victory in the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the US women’s soccer team are back on home soil and continuing their celebrations in style.
For Alex Morgan, the star captain and forward who set an individual record for the most goals scored in a single game when she scored five times in a historic match against Thailand, the trophies are fully in abundance this week, as she picked up the award for Best Female Athlete at the ESPYS.
While the World Cup may be over, the bold advocacy of the USWNT, who have made headlines throughout the course of the World Cup for their tireless campaign for equal pay, as well as their outstanding performance on the pitch, are continuing apace. In her acceptance speech, Morgan paid tribute to the female athletes who inspired her to pursue a career as a professional footballer, as well as her fellow teammates who helped the US secure their fourth World Cup title.
“I think about the greats that have won this award in the past, and I’m just so honoured to follow in their amazing footsteps. They not only won championships and countless records, but were an inspiration to so many, including me, as I dreamt of playing the sport that I loved,” she began.
“As athletes, we try to surround ourselves with the best people, to help lift us up, and help make this journey possible, and I’m so fortunate to have this in my life. First, my teammates - we did it! I love you guys like sisters, and I have 22 best friends.”
Morgan also touched on the importance of supporting other female athletes and investing in women. “Investment in women and girls should not only occur on the playing fields, but in more storytelling of badass, amazing women, who continue to show that we are more than just athletes,” she continued as the audience applauded.
Morgan then took a moment to thank ESPN for its recent deal to screen NWSL games.
“When the World Cup is behind us, it is the professional league that we need to continually lift up and grow,” she said. “Investment in women and girls should not only occur on the playing fields but in more storytelling of badass, amazing women who continue to show that we are more than just athletes.”
In a post-ceremony interview with Entertainment Weekly, Morgan elaborated on the importance of investing in women’s football, which has enjoyed a huge popularity surge thanks to the stunning performance of the US women’s team in the World Cup.
“I wanted to say that we need to invest in women, and when you invest in women you see the return on it,” she explained backstage. “The World Cup was a perfect example of it. Of the fact that, yes we give U.S. soccer an extremely hard time, but you have to give them credit for investing in this team over the course of the last 20 years, and you could see that in the World Cup how dominate we were… I think investing in women sports is so crucial.”
Later in the evening, the USWNT were introduced to the stage by Sandra Bullock as winners of the award for Best Team, who nailed her colours firmly to the mast over the subject of equality with the declaration: “All those in favour of equal pay, say ‘Aye.’”
In the wake of back-to-back World Cup wins, and the news that the US women’s soccer team games actually generate more revenue than their male counterparts, time’s up for pay inequality. In the words of Alex Morgan, “Let’s pay these ladies and goodnight.”