It takes a singular amount of talent, focus and dedication for athletes to reach the pinnacle of their chosen sport. For Alex Morgan, that drive is on full display as the forward is a key part of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team that’s currently competing in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.

But behind every great athlete are the loved ones, coaches, teammates, friends and fans who provide support on and off the field. With #ShareTheBench, Coca-Cola aims to recognize and inspire the people who help the athletes on the pitch stay driven as they strive for their goals.

For Morgan, two of the biggest advocates on her bench are her mother, Pam Morgan, and her mother-in-law, Gloria Carrasco, who traveled with the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team during the recently concluded Group Stage of the World Cup in order to provide a taste of home during a hectic time.

“There have been a lot of different emotions – it’s exciting, stressful and tiring – but it’s been really great being there for Alex and her teammates,” Pam Morgan said. “It’s really being part of her bench not only during the game, but also prior to the game, being there for her emotionally. It can just be talking about her health, or the quality of her lunch. Mom stuff!”

For both women, the #ShareTheBench movement goes beyond what happens during game time and into the larger arena of inspiring athletes around the world.

“We barely talk about the game,” Carrasco said. “We just want her to know we are there. What they are doing is amazing. They are role models, and all these little girls look up to them. It’s that excitement and sharing those moments that makes this very exciting.”

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Pam Morgan (left) and Gloria Carrasco on the bus, en route to a U.S. Women's National Soccer Team match

Morgan’s first-ever World Cup start against Nigeria on June 16 helped spark the Americans to a victory and a berth in the knockout round, another milestone in her rapid ascent from her standout college days at the University of California to becoming a key member of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team. But Pam Morgan is quick to point out that her daughter has retained the same personality and drive she displayed as a youth.

“I tell people all the time [who ask about being proud of Alex], ‘You know, it’s the exact same thing that you’re going through that I went through.’ You carry it all the way through. I was just as excited watching her play t-ball,” she said. “What’s happening is a dream come true, but I still feel the same way as when she was 14 and doing great, while having the same tenacity and values."

She continues, “Alex was always the smallest one, but she was the fastest. Everyone would call her ‘Mighty Mouse’ because she was so fast, whether it was basketball, baseball or soccer. That was the beginning. She sharpened all the other skills, but she always had that speed.”

Added Carrasco, whose son Servando, also a professional soccer player, is married to Alex: “From Day 1, I knew she was going to be a superstar. Sometimes I say, ‘Is this for real?’ because she’s the same girl. That’s why people love her. She hasn’t changed. There's no greater joy in life than to see your kids follow their dreams and being so happy."

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Family and friends show their support for Alex and Team USA

'We're An Extension of the Team'

During Team USA’s game in Vancouver, “Team Morgan” was out in full force, with 30-40 friends and family members making up Morgan’s bench, all decked out in identical shirts to show their support. 

“It was so much fun,” Pam Morgan said. “People were asking us, ‘Where were they selling the shirts?’ Having all the family and friends there was fantastic. We are an extension of the team. We’re the extra player. It is so important for them to know that we are behind them, we are there in the stands and we have their backs.” 

Alex and the rest of her teammates on the U.S. Women’s National team have helped to play a major role in the growth of women’s soccer. As the bench grows to include more and more Team USA fans, Morgan and Carrasco can only marvel at the role Alex has taken on and cheer even louder.

“It gives me chills,” Pam Morgan said. “They are inspiring a new generation – not just tweens, but families. It’s so exciting, for the sport, for women. And I think, ‘My gosh, she is playing a part of this!’ ”

The Share the Bench Award

To recognize members of the U.S. Women’s National Team who exemplify the spirit of #ShareTheBench, Coca-Cola created the Share the Bench Award. One winner will be announced after each stage of play in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Selected for their consistent optimism and role in uplifting the team, winners can be any player, coach, support staff or even fan who makes a positive impact on or off the pitch. 

Captain Christie Rampone is the recipient of the first ever Share the Bench Award, for inspiring the team with her positivity and leadership throughout the Group Stage.

At 39, Rampone is playing in her 5th FIFA World Cup and is the oldest player to take part in a World Cup contest. Known as “Ma” by her teammates and two young daughters, Rampone is the second-most capped player in U.S. and world history with 307 appearances.

Share a Coke With the USWNT!

Fans can Share a Coke with the U.S. Women's National Team by ordering limited-edition bottles of Coca-Cola featuring player names, #sharethebench and much more. Place your order here at! 

Follow @CokeSoccer on Twitter and Instagram and use #ShareTheBench to join in the conversation.