Alex Morgan is ready to 'live' soccer at Lyon

Lots of NWSL players go off on offseason loans. This one is different: Alex Morgan is leaving the Orlando Pride to spend the next five months at European champion Lyon. Morgan says the decision wasn't easy as the move comes at a critical juncture for the women's player union, in negotiations with U.S Soccer, and the Pride, which will open in a new stadium in 2017.

Morgan, who says she will remain available for the U.S. national team, wrote at The Players Tribune that she hopes to move will push her game to another level.

"I hope that training with these incredible athletes each day, and learning a unique style of play, is exactly what I need, and that it will help me find that next gear. Importantly, I will also be immersed in a soccer culture that I believe is precisely what I need at this point in my career. It has always been a dream of mine to 'live' soccer and to compete in the Champions League."

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas had courted Morgan for months with tweets, and she recently traveled to the French city to visit the club.

“We actually had a laugh about it,” Morgan told's Grant Wahl. “I brought it up and was just joking about it. Obviously, he wasn’t serious about recruiting me through social media, but at the end of the day it drew a lot of attention from my fans. I have to hand it to him. Lyon wants to put their club on the map globally, and they’re invested on the women’s and men’s sides to do that. He’s passionate about women’s football.”

Lyon's 1-0 loss to Paris St. Germain on Sunday was its first league defeat in 62 games, dating back to January 2014. It had won its first nine games of the 2016-17 season by a margin of 52-3. It has won the last 10 French league titles.

Lyon won its third UEFA Women's Champions League title with a shootout win over Wolfsburg in the 2016 final. It won its first four games in the 2016-17 Champions League by a margin of 27-2 and will face Wolfsburg in the quarterfinals.

Lyon features a core of the French national team -- captain Wendie Renard, Camille Abily and Eugenie Le Sommer are among 15 OL players called up in 2016 -- plus seven foreign players in addition to Morgan. Norwegian Ada Hegerberg was named the 2016 UEFA Women's Player of the Year, while Dzsenifer Marozsan was recently named German national team captain.

Other Americans have played at Lyon. Hope Solo played seven games in 2005, and Megan Rapinoe played 28 games in 2013-14 but left midway through her second season to join the NWSL's Seattle Reign.

1 comment about "Alex Morgan is ready to 'live' soccer at Lyon".
  1. aaron dutch, December 21, 2016 at 12:11 a.m.

    This is awesome, I wish more american female players would go to play champions in europe they would be far better off in their development as both players & people in experience.

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