When Jordan Morris chose to sign with his hometown Seattle Sounders instead of the Bundesliga’s Werder Bremen, it became a near instantaneous meme. Frustrated United States men’s national team fans immediately seized on the idea that Morris was turning down a chance at European glory in order to live at home, stay close to his girlfriend and hang out with his new puppy.
Fast forward to today and it’s hard to second-guess the decision too much. Morris rebounded from a year-erasing ACL injury to win MLS Comeback Player of the Year in 2019 and followed that up with his first Best XI selection this year, while helping lead the Sounders to a fourth MLS Cup final. In fact, the Sounders have now qualified for MLS Cup every year Morris has been healthy enough to play.
Not only has he enjoyed success with the Sounders, but he’s also developed into one of the USMNT’s more reliable offensive players, has been a consistent national starter over the past few seasons and was again nominated for U.S. Soccer’s Male Athlete of the Year.
“I know there was a lot of talk about when I first signed,” Morris said on Thursday when the subject was broached, yet again. “I’m completely happy with my decisions, I think I made the right decision and all I’ve accomplished here justifies it even more. I really feel like my development as a player has been really good here.”
Morris has never completely shut the door on the possibility of moving overseas and has long insisted he’d go if the situation were right. The 26-year-old re-asserted that openness, but that it comes at the end of a season in which he’s accomplished adds a degree of realness.
“I have goals and aspirations and if the right European team came, I would have to take a close look it,” Morris said. “Things have gone great here. I could keep developing here. The quality of play has improved, my development has continued to get better and I’m happy with how things have gone. It’s a thought in my head for sure.”
To be clear, there have been no concrete offers and the only recent rumor was almost laughable in its implausibility. But if Morris decided to go, he’d have the support of his coach.
“Maybe he wasn’t ready early on in his career,” Brian Schmetzer said a day earlier. “Everyone made a big deal out of not going to Europe. I’d say he’s done pretty good for us.
“If he makes the decision now, certainly I would be happy to see him have success. I’d be sad that he left, but if the kid did well it would be a great story.”
None of this should imply that Morris’ head is anywhere other than Saturday’s game. The Sounders midfielder still has a bit of unfinished business in that he’s yet to score a goal in any of his three previous MLS Cup appearances.
And just because this is his fourth trip, doesn’t diminish how special it feels.
“My focus is on this game,” he said. “The meaning of the game is the same. The importance of the game is the same.”