JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At the age of 22 Morgan Brian was the youngest member of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team that won the 2015 World Cup over Japan. Prior to joining the national team Brian was born in St. Simons, Georgia and played club ball with the Ponte Vedra Storm.
Although she currently plays professionally in France, Brian still calls Jacksonville home and she’s thrilled about the opportunity to face Mexico in a friendly on Thursday night at EverBank Field.
“Nervous I don’t know, but I’m really excited,” said Brian about playing in her hometown. “This is the first time I’ve played in Jacksonville. This is where I grew up and my old stomping grounds. So it will be a lot of fun to play in front of a lot of family and I’m excited about it.”
The National Team is coming off a successful three-game run at the 2018 SheBelieves Cup. So far the USA is 3-0-1 in 2018, with wins over Denmark, Germany and England, along with a tie against France.
Thursday will be the third time the USWNT has played in Jacksonville. In 1996 they loss 2-1 to Norway and most recently in 2013 they had a 4-2 win against Scotland.
As a kid Brian, who is now 25-years old, was a huge fan of the National Team and she feels it’s their duty to inspire the next generation of players.
“For us it’s just continuing to allow girls to see us in these stadiums and environments and to be able to dream and see that,” said Brian. “I know that’s how I got here. I saw the women’s national team play live and those opportunities were there for me so we could dream that and now we’re here. So it’s really important to get girls to come out and see this product on the field.”
The USA is 32-1-1 against Mexico all time and Thursday will be their first meeting since February of 2016. United States women’s national soccer team head coach Jill Ellis called the facilities at EverBank Field outstanding and she expects a warm reception for the team on Thursday night.
“We try to put ourselves in places where we feel there’s a soccer base,” said. “I think this [Jacksonville] is fairly close to Morgan Brian’s home town. I know there are tons of development academies and obviously a lot of players here in Florida. We try to tap into the fan that’s probably a casual fan and is curious as well as the fan that is hard core about this team. Hopefully they’ll come.”