At the age of 22, Morgan Brian was the youngest member of the U. S. Women’s National Soccer Team that secured the victory over Japan in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Now at 23, the St. Simons Island native may have the chance to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro beginning August 5.
• Brian often played with kids who were much older. Many traveled far distances to play for club teams, including Brian, which led her to Jax. “A coach from the Ponte Vedra Storm saw me play on Jekyll Island and invited me to try out for a 3v3 team.” She ended up spending her youth soccer career with that club.
• In 2010, at the age of 15, Brian was the youngest member on the team that competed in the 2010 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand. “It was a great experience for me at an important time in my career. It pushed me to think faster and increase my speed of play. The girls were much more athletic and bigger than I was. I felt really fortunate to be in that environment. I learned a lot from playing with older players and soaked everything up that I could.”
• Brian attended the University of Virginia where she broke records, won awards and celebrated championships. In 2015, she was selected by the Houston Dash as the No. 1 overall pick in the National Women’s Soccer League College Draft as a midfielder. That same year, she represented the U. S. in the World Cup. “It was a dream come true. Ever since I was a kid and watching the women win the 1999 World Cup, I wanted to be in their shoes. Playing in the World Cup and winning it at the age of 22 with all of my friends and family present was the experience of a lifetime. I will never forget the seas of red, white and blue cheering us on across the border in Canada.”
• EA Sports released the 2016 version of the FIFA video game series in September of 2015. It was the first time that women soccer players were included, and Brian is featured. “I am still shocked that I am in a video game. It's pretty awesome seeing all of the videos people tag of me on social media or my friends sending videos playing as me in the game.”
• “The hardest challenge was to balance playing college soccer, taking classes and competing with the Women's National Team to qualify for the World Cup all in one semester. It was a lot of traveling, changing teams, positions, tests, studying and stress, but I made it.” This fall, Brian returns to Jacksonville and the fields she grew up playing on with a camp open to boys and girls. The Morgan Brian Soccer Camp runs December 17-19, 1-5 PM, and takes place at the Clay County Soccer Club Complex. Visit aisasoccer.com for more information.