For the second consecutive year, Jordan Morris has been named a candidate for U.S. Soccer’s Male Athlete of the Year award. Morris is one of six nominees, along with Tyler Adams, Sergino Dest, Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic and Gyasi Zardes. Notably, Morris and Zardes are the only two nominees from MLS, with the other four all playing in Europe for Champions League teams.
Unlike previous seasons where players were nominated based on a combination of club and country performance, this year’s award will be almost entirely based on how they played for their clubs as the USMNT only had four matches. Neither Morris nor Pulisic, for instance, have even suited up for the Stars and Stripes this year.
Taking the quality of competition out of the mix, Morris fared pretty well. His 19 combined goals and assists (11 goals, 8 primary assists) were just one fewer than Zardes’ 20 (15G, 5A) for the most among Americans in top divisions.
But with four of these players often starting for Champions League teams, Morris probably would have needed some sort of breakout performance on the international stage to push his candidacy across the line.
Of course, the door isn’t entirely shut on Morris joining his compatriots in Europe.
“Maybe he wasn’t ready early on in his career,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said on Wednesday. “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 — sad that he left — but if the kid did well it would be a great story.”
U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year