DeAndre Yedlin’s struggles prove Jordan Morris was right to choose MLS

Feb 5, 2016; Carson, CA, USA; United States forward Jordan Morris (8) runs down the field during the first half against Canada at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2016; Carson, CA, USA; United States forward Jordan Morris (8) runs down the field during the first half against Canada at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /

Should young U.S. standouts play abroad or stay here, at home? We may soon find out thanks to DeAndre Yedlin and Jordan Morris. 

While not nearly as compelling or symbolic as The Decision made by LeBron James in 2010 to play for the Miami Heat, the drama over where Stanford and USMNT standout Jordan Morris would choose to start his career stole the attention of many U.S. soccer fans – at least for a few weeks.

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MLS supporters couldn’t imagine him not playing for his home team, the Seattle Sounders (where his father is the Medical Director and orthopedic surgeon), while others argued he needed to fine-tune his skills on a larger, more competitive stage (ie. Europe).

With Jurgen Klinsmann all but certainly whispering sweet German nothings into Morris’s ear (despite reports to the contrary) the next great hope for U.S. soccer seemed nearly ready to turn his back on the MLS for a chance to play for Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga.

But then, at the 11th hour, he didn’t (much to the chagrin, I’m sure, of my colleague, Rucker Haringey).

Clearly he made the right decision, and one need only look at the career trajectory of former Seattle Sounder DeAndre Yedlin for proof.

You can’t really get that good when all you do is ride pine

DeAndre Yedlin was set up for a remarkable career opportunity when he signed with Tottenham Hotspur last year. But he didn’t really get any playing time – he just didn’t fit into their needs at the time. So, as is the norm in soccer, Yedlin went on loan with Sunderland, specifically to gain the experience he needs to make an impact for the USMNT (and, eventually, Tottenham).

Lucky for him he was gaining that experience, but his luck may soon run out. With Sunderland sitting at 19th place in the Premier League standings, Sunderland Manager Sam Allardyce has realized his own job may be in jeopardy. As a result, Yedlin’s been riding the pine, and will likely do so for the rest of the season as Allardyce turns to a more seasoned vet, in Billy Jones, to help pull Sunderland out of the trenches.

I’d say it’s a good thing the Sunderland loan was just for one season, except Yedlin’s future back at Tottenham are up in the air too. Kyle Walker has returned to form, and the Spurs signed right-back Kieran Trippier over the summer, making Yedlin all but irrelevant in Tottenham’s game plan moving forward.

Over the course of the last calendar year, Yedlin has not played nearly as many competitive games as a professional needs to in order to hone his skills.

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Morris, on the other hand, will likely play often

Jordan Morris, on the other hand, is in position to gain actual playing time alongside some of the best players the MLS has to offer, in Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey. Sounders GM Garth Lagerway knows that he has the responsibility of grooming Morris into something far greater than just one domestic league, meaning he won’t allow the hometown hero to sit on the bench all season long.

Somehow, someway, Morris will get his playing time. I can’t wait to see these two professionals over the next few years. How will the MLS help or hinder Morris’s potential? How will Yedlin’s move across the pond help or hurt him?

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In the never-ending debate between “to stay in the U.S. or to go overseas” we may very well see a resolution, just by watching Morris and Yedlin.