Alex Morgan is phenomenal.
The soccer superstar burst on to the scene during the 2011 Women's World Cup by being a spark off the bench and carried that momentum all the way through 2012 as the new face of the United States Women's National Team.
Morgan elevated her stock from a relative unknown to the star of all of U.S. Soccer.
She also transcended past just being the favorite soccer player and is currently at the top of the heap in terms of all female athletics, an incredible feat for such a short period of time in the spotlight.
Here are five reasons why Morgan is America's darling.
To be America's favorite, you not only have to be excellent at your craft, but you have to be exciting. You have to deliver special moments into the U.S. sports lexicon. Morgan has surely done that.
Morgan struck first in the Women's World Cup final in 2011. The U.S. fans thought for sure that they were on their way to a World Cup title. Japan battled back and won, but the young striker showed that she could step up on the large stages.
Fast forward to 2012, and it was the Year of Morgan. She scored more than anyone else—28 goals and 21 assists on the year, including the thrilling, match-winning goal in stoppage time against Canada at the London Games.
Whenever Morgan steps on the pitch, she gives fans the "ooh and aah" moments that they require from their favorite players.
American sports fans still have not been able to get over their vanity when it comes to athletics. That is just the sad truth. You can be a female athlete with elite talents, but unless you also possess good looks, those talents will go largely unnoticed.
Do you need examples? What major tournaments did Anna Kournikova win? Is Brittney Griner on every sports poster right now? America is sickeningly vain.
Morgan, however, possess both amazing talents and good looks. She is considered to be marketable. Television programs have no qualms about plastering her face all over their broadcasts.
She should have earned her top spot just by her supreme talent.
If you do not believe that this plays a factor in America's fascination with the young woman, then I challenge you to track her name on Twitter during her next match. You would be astonished by what is said.
Looks will only carry you so far. To reach the top of the mountain, you must also bring hardware back.
Morgan showed up in the 2011 Women's World Cup final and nearly gave the U.S. its first World Cup since 1999.
In 2012, she was determined to wear gold. And she did.
Morgan and counterpart Abby Wambach led the USWNT to a rematch with Japan in the Olympic final and dominated the match. Morgan scored the deciding goal in the semifinal against Canada, and eight minutes in to the final, she assisted on Carli Lloyd's goal.
Morgan brought the hardware back to the U.S. She is a bona fide champion now.
2012 was a year when any woman could have stepped up and been America's sweetheart. The Olympics gave them that stage. Some succeeded.
Missy Franklin, Gabby Douglas, Allyson Felix, Sanya Richards-Ross and others stepped up in the spotlight.
Potential stars like Lolo Jones faltered.
Yet the Olympics only puts them in the forefront of the sports world for a brief moment in time. Their opportunity to capture the hearts of America is gone and forgotten less than a month later.
Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins began to captivate basketball fans but have not entered that upper echelon yet.
Serena Williams and tennis has taken a backseat in recent years.
Morgan has breathed new life into women's athletics. Where other athletes have not made that next step up, Morgan has.
The biggest deciding factor is that Morgan plays for one of our national teams.
In collegiate and professional athletics, fans have allegiances to a specific school. In individual sports, there is not a sense of country. But the USWNT unites us, as we cheer the crest.
Morgan, being behind the crest and emerging as one of our top athletes, allows fans to rally behind her as a whole.
It is not just cheering Morgan alone, and it is not identifying with a local or regional team. She is representing Americans from coast to coast. And she does it with flair. She does it with skill. Morgan is exciting.
If this were a club team, then perhaps she might not be as beloved at this moment, but it is not. It is the United States Women's National Team. United we stand...behind Alex Morgan.