PORTLAND -- Alex Morgan just arrived in Portland after finishing up her national team duties, and already she had to go through the "beep" test, "which was a great welcome," she said tongue in cheek.
The test by the Portland Thorns soccer team is used to determine a player's ability to run. And then run some more. After that, you run more and then the coach can really see whose fitness level is where it needs to be.
Morgan was given the option of not taking the test during her first practice, but was more than happy to show her new coach she can keep up with the best of them.
That was why seeing Morgan on the turf at Jeld-Wen Field was such a welcome sight.
"Like the true professional she is she said, 'no I want to run it with the girls,' so it was great to see her out there playing," said head coach Cindy Parlow-Cone.
And for Morgan it's great to finally have a soccer home.
"Last year, the national team was my club team, so we were traveling all the time. It's really nice to be in a city and live here and call myself a Thorn," Morgan said following Monday's 90-minute practice.
Morgan also knows that just like she struck gold at last summer's Olympic games, she struck it again by being allocated to Portland.
"I think it is huge," she said, "that Portland's owner Merritt Paulson stepped up and is the owner of the Thorns. I think it sets a good example to teams that might want to join the league in the coming years."
And unlike with prior women's soccer ventures, which haven't found much success in the United States, Morgan is hopeful that back-to-back summers of some terrific international play will help guide people towards the stadium.
"Having a great World Cup (2011) and coming back and winning the gold in the Olympics (2012), definitely turned people's heads and gained a little popularity in the sport in the U.S and internationally," she said.
It is undoubtedly popular here, where more than 6,000 season tickets have been sold already. She has played here twice before, but now Morgan is excited to experience Jeld-Wen as a member of the home team.
"It's always sold out crowds, and the Timbers Army is always in full force, and very loud, so I'm hoping they come out and support us."
How can you not support someone who shows up and passes the "beep test" on day one?