Vlatko Andonovski

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Alex Morgan’s Olympic return from pregnancy supported by new U.S. soccer coach

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NEW YORK — New U.S. women’s soccer coach Vlatko Andonovski and general manager Kate Markgraf are already taking steps to support Alex Morgan‘s goal to return from an April due date and make the Olympic team as a mom to play in late July.

“The most important thing is to have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby,” Andonovski said in a press conference to introduce him as Jill Ellis‘ successor. “When she does that, we’re going to do everything in our power, use the resources that the federation is providing, whether it’s high-performance director, staff, anything that we can do on our side to help her get back for the Olympics.”

Morgan, a star forward on the last five combined Olympic and World Cup teams, said on Wednesday that she is pregnant and due in April, three months before the Tokyo Games.

A source close to Morgan then said that her goal is to come back from childbirth to make her third Olympic team.

Markgraf, who came back from childbirth to make her third and final Olympic team in 2008, said she texted Morgan the name of the trainer who helped her return.

“As a former player that gave birth twice during my career, I know that the first thing on your mind is just having a healthy baby, so that is really where I positioned the conversation [with Morgan] the entire time,” she said. “I was like, let me know what I can do to help. Just stay healthy. Don’t worry about anything else other than having a healthy baby, and then we’ll have a conversation. … Give everybody the best chance to be their best is what we try to do.”

Morgan will miss the U.S.’ Olympic qualifying tournament, but that wouldn’t normally rule her out of the Olympic roster consideration.

In 2016, three players who were not part of qualifying were chosen for the Olympic roster — Megan Rapinoe (missed qualifying with an ACL tear), Whitney Engen and Allie Long.

The 2020 Olympic team selection procedures have not been published on U.S. Soccer’s website, but for the 2012 and 2016 Games, the head coach had final say in composition of the 18-player team. The World Cup roster size is 23.

Joy FawcettChristie RamponeCarla Overbeck and Markgraf made Olympic teams as moms, all doing so at least one year after childbirths.

MORE: Rio Olympic women’s soccer champions fail to qualify for Tokyo

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