When you score against Mexico, people in the United States start to take notice. That’s exactly what’s happening to Stanford University sophomore Jordan Morris after his goal off a ricochet last Wednesday.
After surprising soccer pundits across the country with his national team call up in January to the senior national team, Morris definitively proved that he belongs with his goal against Mexico Wednesday night. While Jurgen Klinsmann has certainly produced some experimental lineups over the past five years as national team head coach, no choice has produced more head scratches than that of Morris. Now that Morris has scored in just his fourth cap with the national team, Klinsmann’s call up looks less perplexing and more and more promising.
Jordan Morris comes from relatively humble beginnings with regards to soccer. Just three years ago he was playing soccer for his high school, Mercer Island, a white collar suburb of Seattle, as well as a local club team Eastside FC. However, just before his senior season, Jordan’s father, a renowned doctor in the area, took a job with the MLS and USL editions of the Sounders, prompting Sigi Schmid to invite him to join the Sounders youth squad.
Morris immediately made an impact at the youth level with the Sounders, earning invites to the U-20, Olympic, and U-23 squads for the United States’ National Team, where he saw significant time as a striker and winger. With his profile rising, the Seattle Sounders attempted to sign him to a professional contract, but Morris, notorious for valuing his education, opted to attend Stanford University.
In just his freshman season, Morris made an immediate impact with the Stanford Cardinal. Morris scored six goals and notched seven assists–both leads for the Pac-12 by a freshman–thus earning him first team all-conference honors. By his sophomore season, he made yet another leap, with four goals and six assists, but far better combination play on the wing, helping Stanford achieve a high finish in the Pac-12. Morris’ efforts earned him first team all-American honors, amongst the best eleven players in college soccer.
At this point, many national team fans are wondering: if this kid is so good, why doesn’t he just go pro? The simple answer is he doesn’t have to. Morris’ father is a doctor and he comes from a white collar family, meaning money is not necessarily a major motivating factor towards going pro like it is in so many cases. Additionally, Morris highly values his college education, and knows that eventually he will have a life after soccer, where his Stanford degree will help him far more than his pace on the wing. With those two factors in mind, it’s no wonder that Morris has yet to go pro, but his professional debut certainly appears to be on the horizon.
With his recent national team call-ups, many national team pundits have speculated where Morris will go, with the prevailing opinion emerging that Klinsmann will push Jordan towards Europe. While that may happen eventually, I firmly believe Morris will play at least one season with the Sounders. Morris is a Seattle kid who has said numerous times that his dream is to play for the Sounders. The Sounders have every incentive to bring in a homegrown player and rising national-teamer who will likely draw interest from European clubs in the future, so expect a deal sooner rather than later.
Regardless of where Jordan Morris ends up, this is certainly an exciting player to watch grow and represents a fruit of Klinsmann’s experimental approach with the national team.