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Getting to know Jordan Morris

Tomorrow's United States National Team match (11:15 AM NBC Sports, UniMas) could possibly feature a Sounder, who also happens to be the first college call up to the senior team in 19 years. Who is this Jordan Morris?

This article now uses every Jordan Morris photo in the Sounder at Heart catalog. That will change if he makes an appearance against the Czech Republic.
This article now uses every Jordan Morris photo in the Sounder at Heart catalog. That will change if he makes an appearance against the Czech Republic.
Chris Coulter - Sounders Photos

Remember how quickly DeAndre Yedlin rose to prominence? It was rapid. There may be a player who went from national unknown to next-great-thing even faster. Just three years ago Jordan Morris was a high school player (Mercer Island High School) on a local club (Eastside FC). He had a great season, captaining Mercer Island to a 2nd place finish in state and winning the Gatorade Washington State Player of the Year, all as a junior. On Eastside FC he led them to a 3rd in nation finish as well. In his senior year he joined Seattle Sounders Academy and won the Conference and National Player of the Year and completed his conversion to forward winning the USSDA U-17/18 Golden Boot for the season. As a freshman undeclared major at Stanford he made the Pac-12 First Team, leading all freshmen in assists and tied for the goal lead.

During that time with club and school he started getting calls to the U-20 and U-21 (Olympic prep), U-23 squads and scrimmaged against the senior national team prior to the World Cup. Now, he has received a call to the full national team for a friendly against the Czech Republic and could be the first college player to earn a senior cap in nearly two decades. He's the United States next great thing. He's a Sounder.

That all sounds great, can Seattle even sign him as a Homegrown Player?

Yes, they can. It's a decision with several parties involved in the signing - MLS, Sounders and Morris. The team and Morris had conversations last winter and were likely to review that this winter, but the timeline probably moves forward.

Why hasn't he signed with Sounders FC yet?

Morris is from a white-collar family, in fact his father is the long-time team doctor for both the MLS Sounders and USL Sounders. Education is of great importance to the Morris clan. He committed to Stanford in his junior year of high school, declaring to them prior to joining the Academy. Jordan is there for his education even more than for soccer. He once told Sounder at Heart that he wanted to go to Stanford to prove that he could go to that quality of school. Morris works as hard at his education as he does his soccer.

What type of player is he?

Jordan is fast enough, but not a speedster. He has a solid frame (5'11, 185), but isn't tall or immensely strong. He's a forward that works best on the wing or underneath. Morris will use technique to gain space to shoot and he will shoot. He's also a great provider who unselfishly hits teammates on the run picking up assists via cross or cut-back passes. As a converted midfielder he is a better ball handler than most American forwards his age. He's kind of like Clint Dempsey as a style of player, but clearly not-Dempsey.

Come on now, that's crazy talk...

He's not Clint, but he has a similar skill set and is young enough that he should develop, especially with continual call-ups to the national team (either Olympics or full squad) and under professional tutelage. This also isn't just local hot-chocolate local hype, the Morris hype machine is full national.

What's his peak?

Seattle just sold Yedlin for a few million dollars. There's a possibility that Morris is a better overall player, and since he's a goal-scoring forward his fee (if the club signs him before some European side) will likely be larger.

Let's say Sounders FC signed him right now. Where would he fit on the depth chart?

He isn't going to bump Dempsey and Martins, but since he can play on the wing and is a good provider there is space for him out wide and as depth up top. Jordan would immediately be in the mix with Neagle, Barrett, and Cooper. Morris would provide some needed width and a bit of speed. He isn't quite the bulldog to goal that Barrett is, but he'd earn starts and be a fixture in the 18. He's already on the National Team radar for Brazil's 2016 Olympics (or the 2016 Copa Americas Centenario) and Russia 2018 for a reason.

A European club is going to sign him after this friendly, aren't they?

There's a very real likelihood of that. But there are some reasons to think that the Sounders still have a chance - his father works for the team, every coach he's had prior to college was a Sounder. Klinsmann may be trying to force a signature from both Morris and the Sounders, because there's really no reason to call a college kid to the full United States National Team, even if he's this good.

He's going to cost Hanauer & Co. a lot of money, right?

Yep, his HGP contract is not going to be right around the league minimum like Yedlin, Okoli and Kovar's were in their first year. It's going to be Zardes-sized ($173k) and it is going to have to include a clause for schooling after his career.

If he does sign he's going to be like Yedlin and leave after a couple seasons though?

Almost certainly. But, there will be two more years in league talent development and a huge CBA negotiation that could change Seattle's ability to hold onto their local greats. Klinsmann already called one youngster from Seattle to the world's stage, so being here will not hold him back.

How's his hair game?

It's pretty bland.

How do I watch this greatness?

Wednesday morning at 11:15 AM he may appear on NBC Sports/UniMas with the US National Team. Ten of his Stanford games are on the Pac-12 Networks.

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