Jordan Morris scored in Olympics qualifying, again. The Seattle Sounders Academy product and current Stanford junior got his third goal of the qualifying tournament on Tuesday, this time cleverly putting away a feed in front of goal to help the United States breeze to a 4-0 victory over Panama and complete a perfect group stage.
But we knew Morris could play at that level. He's been scoring against U23 competition on the regular for at least a year and he's even scored for the senior national team against Mexico. The question on everyone's mind is "When will he go pro?"
Well, there's an excellent piece in Grantland today that doesn't really get us any closer to that answer, but it does sum up pretty nicely why Morris is electing to remain at Stanford. This quote probably best sums up his thought process:
"This is an experience I'm never going to get back," he says. "I get to be in school at Stanford. I get to live with my best friends. Every day I'm in the locker room with the guys I call my brothers. That's the experience I'm talking about. On a professional team, you're probably not going to have that. You're competing for spots, contracts, and everything.
"It won't be the same. It won't be this."
Morris' Stanford coach, James Gunn, also speaks glowingly of the college experience and points out that the 20-year-old is surrounded by excellent athletes and has access to world-class facilities, and even suggests those aren't givens in a pro setting.
All of which is a long way of saying that we shouldn't simply assume Morris is in any kind of hurry to leave the Palo Alto campus once the current soccer season ends sometime this winter. Even if we assume Morris' preference is to start his pro career with the Sounders, it's entirely possible that we'll have wait for him to exhaust his college eligibility, which won't happen until the 2016 MLS offseason.
Frustrating as that may be, it appears the people in his life who have the most to gain from him turning pro are willing to wait. If Morris wants to work on his own schedule, that seems just fine.