ThePostGame caught up with U.S. National Team star Alex Morgan as she was taking a day off from her hectic soccer schedule to promote her new book, "The Kicks: Saving The Team," which is available in stores now.
ThePostGame: You have a new book which came out this week. How did you come up with the idea and what's the process of publishing been like?
ALEX MORGAN: This idea came about a couple of years ago, and during the Olympics, it really came to light with Simon and Schuster. It's great because a lot of the little girls that come out and watch us play (in the new National Women's Soccer League) are who this book is aimed at. It's about a girls' soccer team and the friendships they make and the teamwork they need to succeed and the skills and the responsibility that goes along with that.
TPG: Are there any characters we'll recognize in there that are based off any of your teammates from the national team?
MORGAN: There's not characters specifically that translate to actual teammates of mine but there are real life experiences in the novel. I tried to go out of my way to talk to my teammates about what their experiences were when they were younger and how it helped them get to where they are today. (The book) definitely draws from my teammates' and my own experience.
TPG: Is there a specific example you can tell us of your experiences in the book?
MORGAN: There’s so many things that draw from when I was younger … something silly in there is my superstitions and pregame rituals: The way I put on my socks and shoes and put my pink prewrap in my hair are some examples.
TPG: How long have you held onto that ritual?
MORGAN: That pregame ritual is probably about 5 or 6 years old. When I was younger I had different pregame rituals--once you stick to something and you feel like it helps you out and brings you luck you don’t change anything.
TPG: A few months ago you told me that you carry your gold medal from the Olympics around with you because you never want to let it out of your sight. Is it still sitting next to you now?
MORGAN: My gold medal right now is back at home. I don’t take it out as much anymore -- typically every week I open the case to check on it and make sure it's still there and just remember how I got it, but I don’t carry it everywhere anymore.
TPG: Do you still get recognized a lot from the Olympic hype? Like can you go to the mall without being mobbed?
MORGAN: With the new league you see a lot of hype around that, so we definitely do get large crowds (at games) and there's a lot of support. It's great to see all the fans coming out and support that partially from the Olympics -- we just hope that it continues on.
TPG: In the last decade we've seen women's soccer leagues in the U.S. start strong and then fail. What do you think will make this one different?
MORGAN: I think this league is different because there's commitments from all around: There's commitments from the U.S. Soccer Federation, Mexico and Canadian Federations and they’ve all come together to help support this league and pay national team players' salaries on the club teams. I also think with the salary caps and budgets, the league office is watching closely on what every team does so we don’t start off too high or get too ahead of ourselves.
TPG: Are players still living with host families like many did with the last league?
MORGAN: It's based on each team and each location, but I think there may still be some players that live with host families, but I think most players have apartments though some players still take on a second job.
TPG: What do you do stay in shape when you're not playing soccer?
MORGAN: Technically I don’t have an offseason, but whenever I’m not with my club team or the national team, I try and do spin classes or something different. I try to mix up my exercising so it doesn't get boring.
TPG: Speaking of the national team, your nickname during the Olympics was "Baby Horse." Now that you're more of a veteran, do they still call you that?
MORGAN: My teammates don't -- I think we let that nickname go and I think we've moved on. There's not really a nickname that’s taken over but, as of now, I'm just Alex.