American Exports: Minnesota native Morice joins Rennes
AMSTERDAM – Former Yale midfielder Max Morice has begun on a one-year contract with Ligue 1 side Rennes with the aim of earning a longer deal with the club, if not also a first team shot to impress.
The Minnesota native left the Bulldogs after appearing in all 17 games for the team as a freshman last season. Morice will start with the Rennes reserves, who play in Group H of the fifth-tier Championnat de France Amateur 2 league.
"I train and play with the reserves of the first team, which can pull players up during the season if they need them," Morice told MLSsoccer.com by email. "My goal is to train, play and work toward offers for a first team contract next year."
The Red and Blacks weren't the only European club tracking Morice, but they'd been interested the longest and left all the others in dust.
"The Stade Rennais was on my radar since I finished high school," he said. "I was in contact with some other clubs before Rennes offered me a contract."
In addition to turning out players such as Stephane Mbia and Sylvain Wiltord over the years, Rennes also held a bit of family history lure for Morice. For starters, his dad Pierre played seven seasons with Nantes, located 60 miles due south on the E3 highway.
"Some of the reasons I am really happy to be here are that Rennes has a great reputation for forming young players who go on to play in the club’s first team," said Morice. "And Rennes is also close to where my grandparents live in Erquy, on the coast about an hour from here."
Rennes II opened their season with a 2-2 draw against Granville on Sunday night, with the American watching from the stands. Morice will get his next chance at a debut when they visit Dinan-Léhon on Saturday.