Alex Morgan Says USWNT Loss ‘Hurts,' Emphasizes That Team 'Poured Everything into This World Cup'

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The USWNT was knocked out of the World Cup on Sunday

<p>Fiona Goodall - FIFA/FIFA via Getty </p> Alex Morgan

Alex Morgan says the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s early exit from this year’s World Cup “hurts,” but vowed the team “will grow and be stronger” for it.

Morgan, 34, shared her post-tournament thoughts in an Instagram post on Thursday morning, four days after the USWNT was knocked out of the World Cup by rival Sweden in a dramatic shootout.

The Round-of-16 loss was the earliest the two-time defending World Cup champions had ever exited the tournament.

A longtime powerhouse in international soccer, the USWNT was attempting to win an unprecedented three-straight World Cup titles – something no country has ever done before in either men’s or women’s soccer.

“It hurts and it will for a while but this wound will eventually turn into a scar,” Morgan wrote. “Another reminder that we compete because we want to be the best, measure ourselves against the top in the world. This time, we came up short. We know that and I own that.”

<p> Robin Alam/USSF/Getty</p> Alex Morgan

Robin Alam/USSF/Getty

Alex Morgan

One day after her longtime USWNT teammate Megan Rapinoe bid farewell and said she was “immensely proud” of this year’s team, Morgan echoed that sentiment in her post.

“I’m so proud of the effort, the fight, and belief of this group,” the forward wrote. “I stand by each and every one of these players and reaffirm that we poured everything into this World Cup. This game shows you the highest of highs and lowest of lows. It can be brutal but this wound will not only heal but will serve as a defining moment in the history of [the USWNT] — one we will grow and be stronger for.”

<p>Alex Pantling - FIFA/FIFA via Getty</p> Alex Morgan

Alex Pantling - FIFA/FIFA via Getty

Alex Morgan

The USWNT roster saw one of its biggest turnovers ever coming into this year’s World Cup, raising questions about how the team’s new, younger stars would fit in with veteran players, like Morgan and Rapinoe, who had been part of the team’s previous World Cup wins.

A total of 14 players made their World Cup debut, while Rapinoe and other familiar faces like defender Kelley O’Hara played in substitute roles off the bench.

<p>Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty</p> USWNT

Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty


After the tournament, Morgan declared she wasn’t ready to retire and plans to be around for the next World Cup.

“There is no greater honor than representing my country,” she wrote Thursday on Instagram. “I value and embrace the responsibility that comes along with wearing this crest. I have never taken this opportunity for granted and never will.”

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Morgan added she hopes the USWNT will use this year’s World Cup loss as a learning experience to get better.

“To carry scars is not a sign of weakness but a reminder that you fell and found a way to get back up,” she wrote. “There is a lot of work to do and I don’t expect it to be easy but nothing worth fighting for ever is.”

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