JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Chattahoochee High School standout soccer player Matthew Morgan has his eyes on playing one day on the U.S. Olympic soccer team – and what is more, the team has its eye on him.
Morgan has received word he has been selected a second time by the U.S. Soccer Federation’s regional coaching staff to represent the U.S. Olympic Development Players Region III Team.
He will participate in the 2013 international tour to Guadalajara, Mexico, from April 5 through April 10.
Morgan is well aware of the chance he has to realize a dream to play in the Olympics.
“It’s been really great. It’s really motivating because you set yourself challenges. This will motivate me to get better,” he said.
Morgan, a sophomore forward and midfielder for the CHS Cougars, was the only Georgian selected to the international roster and has been a member of the team for two consecutive seasons.
His freshman year, he first made the Olympic squad for 15-year-olds. Their coaches played the invitees in intra-state competition, and then they went to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to play against other state teams.
“Oh, it was crazy hot in Tuscaloosa. It was fun being with all your friends, meeting good players from around the country that you are going to play in college with. But you had to practice three times a day. It was crazy hot,” he said.
During the international tour, team members representing the top 18 state-level ODP players across the Southeast and Texas will train with coaches from a number of Mexican professional soccer clubs. They will also compete in tournaments against players from the Mexico and South America.
It is a grueling, winnowing process to make the international tour. Each year, players have to re-qualify, and not all make it. Morgan did.
His father Jeff Morgan said he created a logarithm to see just what the odds were to reach the level his son is at now. It involves calculating all of the club players in Georgia to make that team and then looking at what it took for all of the players from all of the other states to make the same level. To get picked for the international team raises the odds even higher.
“Getting that second invitation is special,” Jeff Morgan said.
But the younger Morgan says what he likes best about the U.S. Olympic Development Program is the level of competition.
“As you advance in [skill] levels, you get a thrill out of the competition. It’s always exciting and motivating,” he said.
Morgan admits he thinks about the 2016 Olympics and the chance to play for a gold medal.
“That would be great. I will be in my prime then,” he said.
But for now, he is content just trying to be the best he can be.
Morgan is a starting player and captain for the Chattahoochee varsity team. He leads the team with seven goals scored so far. He is also a standout player on the Concord Fire Elite US Developmental Academy and Super Region Team.
The Concord Fire is scheduled to participate in the Youth National Championships in Kansas City, Mo., this coming July.
He is also a kicker for the varsity football team.
Not surprisingly, Morgan has already received the interest of several colleges including the University of Louisville (Ky.). San Diego State has also invited him to come out to their soccer camp.