Just over a year ago, Seattle Sounder striker was the subject of a firestorm of Twitter debate and soccer punditry in the United States media world.
Should the youngster, who had already made a handful of appearances with the USMNT while with the Stanford soccer team take his talents over to Europe or take the largest home-grown MLS contract ever?
There were certainly merits to both approaches as Morris would have been exposed to Bundesliga level competition and training if he went to Werder Bremen. However, those on the other side argued for the safety and security of MLS and home, especially given the availability of consistent playing time.
Quite clearly we will never know how this debate would have turned out if Jordan Morris would have opted for the German route but it is clear, for now, that he made the correct decision. Staying home in Seattle has led the striker to rapidly develop his game to the point that he is an integral part of a club in MLS Cup. Not only that, but he scored the winning goal for Seattle in last night’s second leg that put Seattle up 3-1 in the overall aggregate.
Jordan Morris is an example that brings into question the need to move to Europe to develop. Are we sure staying home in the United States isn’t a viable option for the development of young players? Following the Morris decision many derided him for losing out on the opportunity to go.
Does this show that a player can continue his development at home? I believe it surely does. It is undeniable that Morris became a much more complete player over the course of his first professional season. For the first month, he had a deer in the headlights look. Now that has completely changed as he can command a match and at times create chances for himself.
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Surely, Morris isn’t a finished product yet and it remains to be seen if the United States and MLS specifically can provide him an avenue to reach what would be his peak. Morris might have to move to England or Germany within the next few years if MLS can’t match his development curve, but I believe the potential is there.
I hope for the sake of MLS that money rich Seattle can lock Morris up for a major portion of his career, much like L.A. Galaxy did with Landon Donovan. The thought of a one-club man within MLS that can star for the national team is extremely exciting and Jordan Morris with his deep Seattle roots might just be the player to do it. Better yet, Morris is a product of an MLS academy, albeit for just a year further proving that MLS can begin to produce high-level talent.
For neutral fans of MLS and American soccer the fact that it was Jordan Morris tucking away that massive goal last night should be a source of great enthusiasm. It doesn’t mean that the United States has made it in terms of developing talent, but rather another step up latter has been taken.