CARSON, Calif. – Jordan Morris' quick ascent within the Seattle Sounders organization led to his first call-up to a US national team and the possibility of a role at the FIFA U-20 World Cup this summer – and perhaps an important decision in the coming months.
The 18-year-old forward, a dynamic late-bloomer who has scored 22 goals in 22 games for the Sounders' U-17/18 Academy side, has longstanding ties to the club – his father, Michael, has been the team doctor for nearly a decade – and would love nothing more than to play with the senior team. He has signed with Stanford University, but should a Homegrown Player offer come his way, it's something he says he'd seriously consider.
“If that was a possibility, I would love to,” Morris told MLSsoccer.com. “That's my dream one day, to play professional soccer, and it would be great to play for the Sounders, of course. It that comes up one day, I'll definitely have to look into that.”
No word from the Sounders that such a deal might be forthcoming, but Morris' Academy coach acknowledges “there is talk about it” within the club. Morris, a high school senior from Mercer Island, Wash., didn't join the Sounders Academy until last summer, once he'd committed to Stanford, but his impact has been substantial, and he impressed during the U-20 team's camp that closed Monday at the Home Depot Center.
“I saw a very powerful player who has good skill, who can connect with other players, and who has a great knack for scoring goals ...,” US Under-20 national team head coach Tab Ramos told MLSsoccer.com. “There's only one camp left before the World Cup, and the one camp pretty much leads into the World Cup, so we're going to be very careful in out selections. But he definitely has a very good chance to be selected for that camp.”
Morris plays up front in a 4-4-2 for the Sounders but was wide on a three-man frontline for the US in Southern California. His skill set is served in either spot.
“I think I'm pretty good at getting in behind defenders because I've been blessed with some speed,” he said. “That's probably my biggest strength, getting in behind people and finishing off of that.”
Former Sounders midfielder Dick McCormick, Morris' Academy coach, says the youngster's “pace and power are fantastic, and his creative attacking ability is fun to see. You very rarely see a kid that has that much power and pace and also is very technically sound.”
Morris developed under coach Dan Strom at Eastside FC in Seattle, and McCormick says the Sounders “wanted him earlier, we tried to bring him in earlier, but the family was very focused on school. ... I've known Jordan since he was 10 years old, from the local leagues and playing against him and that kind of stuff. His dad has done many of my knee surgeries, so I've known the boy and his family for a long time.”
Education is paramount in his family, so there's no certainty Morris would sign should an offer come from the Sounders.
“I suppose it depends on the opportunity that's laid out in front of him, in terms of what kind of package is out there to make a decision like that,” McCormick said. “Everything is between his family and the club.”
Morris says he's talked to the Sounders coaches “a little bit” about such an opportunity, “and I just think that me and my parents kind of talked about it, too, and we think that getting an education would be important as well. And then, I mean, just see where it goes from there.”