MLS

MLS Pressure Will Do Little To Help Morris Progression

The name Jordan Morris is hardly well known in many football circles but there are several key individuals who are getting very excited by him and his progress.  The 21 year old US born striker has a rapidly growing reputation and has even gained unfair comparisons with a certain Landon Donovan. As one of the brightest prospects to emerge from the US since Donovan (Freddy Adu sadly does not count), Morris looked set for great things. The stage looked set for Morris to replicate Donovan’s path when he was invited to travel to Germany (much as Donovan did) for a trial with Bundesliga side Werder Bremen. The trial by all accounts went well with the club more than happy to offer the player a favourable deal, rumoured to be three years in length. But in a strange turn of events, Morris rejected the deal and now looks set to return to the US and sign for MLS side Seattle Sounders.

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Morris now looks set to join the Seattle Sounders (image from AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The league rejoiced and wasted little time in publicizing the deal as a way of bragging just how far the league had come that now MLS sides were able to compete with their European rivals for young prospects. The critics however are less sure and highlight that this is not the first time Morris has had a change of heart that surprised many. After all it was only a year ago that he turned down Seattle and the MLS to remain at Stanford for a further year which embarrassed the league who had already proclaimed it as a victory. Now a change of heart about a move to Germany sees him return home, with the league clearly suffering from memory lapse about last year.

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The next big thing circa 2004, Freddy Adu with Brazilian great Pele (Image from afp)

The decision it would appear is to do more with Morris character rather than picking the MLS over the Bundesliga. At the heart of things, he is a young man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to say it. He will put his happiness ahead of what other people believe is right for him and simply chose to remain in the US where his family resides due to this. The decision to pick Seattle over all other teams was largely down to the family connection as his dad is currently employed by the club. The league and its growth in quality, it’s ability to attract or any other factors connected to it hardly played a factor in Morris’ decision to reject a European adventure and stay stateside. It may be seen as a risky move for Morris but there is no guarantee that he would have been a success in Germany if he had moved. Competition for places especially at a club like Werder means that forcing his way into the first team could have been a lot tougher. In truth even Donovan struggled during his stay in Germany despite being regularly touted as the next big thing. Added into that, the cultural and language differences between the US and Germany would have added to the complexity of his move.

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Even Donovan struggled to make an impact in Germany (image from getty)

The argument in the flip side is that Morris would have become a better player by simply being in Germany exposed to more talented footballers. This is likely true given that the MLS is still for the better term in development. Morris may not become the next big thing in Seattle and it may take a move to Europe later in his twenties for him to finally make that jump but it’s his career and therefore his decision to make. The league was wrong to proclaim it as a victory for the league. Instead they should have praised Morris for making the choice to follow his heart and do what is right for his own career. You would have thought that they had learned their lesson from before with Adu (they hyped up Adu as the next Pele only for the player to crumble under the pressure and for his career to go into free fall) but clearly not. Morris may become a superstar for the US in the end but he certainly doesn’t need any help from the MLS to do so.

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