Soccer star Alex Morgan meets fans

Alex Morgan wowed her fans (female and male alike, but mostly female) at two separate events in Miami Beach earlier this week.

The soccer star, who currently plays for the Portland Thorns, is passionate about the sport and wants to spread the word about how empowering it can be for young girls. She wrote about the topic in her book series, The Kicks, and signed copies for attendees at McDonald’s on Washington Avenue Sunday night.

“I drew a lot from my personal experiences when I wrote these,” the Olympic gold medalist said. “It’s about what girls on a middle grade soccer team have to go through: balancing homework with teamwork and the respect they have to give each other.”

No matter what happens, Morgan is sticking with the sport she’s been playing since she was 6.

“I’m still young,” said the Californian, who turned 25 Wednesday. “I don’t really want to think about what I’m doing because it’s so unpredictable being a professional athlete. I would like to stay in the game commentating or continuing to develop soccer around the world.”

On Monday, Morgan, a member of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, was at Scott Rakow Youth Center talking to kids about to maintain a healthy lifestyle and explain how she rose up the ranks.

The message was clear: “Soccer is my passion,” said Morgan, who is engaged to Servando Carrasco, who plays with Houston Dynamo. “I love watching it, playing it. It just makes me happy thinking about it.”

Cup dreams

In related news, there’s not much more in life Patrick “PJ” Johnston loves than the game of soccer. The North Miami native, who graduated from Miami Norland High School and works as a coach at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, is basically obsessed.

In his new self published book. The Odyssey of a Soccer Junkie (Amazon), Johnston tells of his hilarious journey trying to make it to the World Cup in Mexico 1986. “I had determined that I would get there come hell or high water,” says Johnston, who is married with four kids.

“I had to rely on my quick wit and any resource necessary.”

At 50, Johnston’s adventurous spirit remains the same; he’s currently over in Brazil watching the action.

Madeleine Marr