By: Lindsey Williams, Spider Soccer junior

On December 20, 2016, a well-known and much loved figure in American sports announced that she would be leaving her family, friends, and fans behind in the United States to pursue a career with one of France’s most prominent teams, Olympique Lyonnais.

Alex Morgan is 27 years old and has become one of the most influential people in U.S. Women’s Soccer, both on and off the soccer field. Along with playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team, Morgan has made a huge impact playing for the Orlando Pride. Morgan’s impact in the World Cup and Olympics and her devotion to equalizing women’s pay in the sport has caused her to amass a large amount of respect in the sports community, as well as become the face of U.S. Women’s Soccer.

This is why her decision to go overseas and play in France has caused so many waves in the soccer world.

After reading Alex Morgan’s announcement of her decision to play in Lyon in The Player’s Tribune, my opinion that Morgan making the right choice was only strengthened.

As a soccer player, Alex Morgan’s career is a dream come true – playing in the Olympics, World Cup, and the U.S. Women’s National Team. However, Alex Morgan aspires to be better than her current self.

This is a personal value that I respect and admire greatly in an athlete, which is why I fully support her decision to go play for Lyon. Olympique Lyonnais is a team that consists of some of the best players across the globe and the talent level is impeccable. Morgan wants to better herself and if she believes that this is the best way possible for her, then by all means I support her completely.

She is leaving behind a new husband, a loving family, and a devoted fan base, which is a tough thing to do for any person. This goes to show just how much she has thought about this decision. I believe that Morgan’s decision to broaden her horizons and not settle, even if it is in another country, should be supported and respected by all, especially the soccer community.

In addition to Alex Morgan wanting to better herself on the soccer field, I believe her experience overseas will also help her better herself as a leader for our U.S. team. The game of soccer is huge all over the world, but it lacks support in the States. This is especially true of women’s soccer.

Our U.S. Women’s National Team definitely does not lack the fame, talent, or success; however, a lack equality does exist. Alex Morgan is going overseas to play for a women’s team that has first-class facilities and the respect of the athletic community. Olympique Lyonnais is a team that is committed to growing and developing women’s soccer and I believe that by playing in an environment with these resources and values, Morgan can come back to the U.S. with new insights to help the soccer community grow.

Though the backlash of Morgan’s decision is great, it is important to note that others such as Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo took time to play overseas. They were able to build themselves as players and have greatly impacted the U.S. Women’s Team and their style of play. I believe that Alex Morgan hopes to do the same.

Morgan claims that she strives to be one of the best soccer players in the world and that she has big dreams. She needs to follow her heart at this point in time and push herself to become that. I believe that you need to do whatever it takes to be happy in life, even if that means being a little selfish at times.

Yes, Alex Morgan may be leaving a loving, devoted fan base behind, as well as the country that built her to be great, but I whole-heartedly believe that she will return a better soccer player and a better leader than she was before. She will come back ready to push our U.S. team and our soccer community to success once again.

The only thing that we as fans can do, is support her through her endeavors and learn from her drive to better herself no matter what it takes.