Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan are well on their way to becoming Seattle Sounders lifers after the team announced that both have signed new contracts through the 2027 season. Both players were entering the final year of previous five-year contracts they signed ahead of the 2019 season, a stretch of time in which they helped lead the Sounders to a second MLS Cup title, a Concacaf Champions League title, and earned spots on the United States World Cup team.
Neither player will take up a Designated Player spot this season and all indications are that they will be below the “full DP” threshold for the entirety of their contracts.
“They are two really good human beings, fine young men,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer told reporters on Thursday. “They embody a lot of things we think are important here. I can’t say enough about what good people they are. Their on-field performances have matched or exceeded what they do off the field.”
That their re-signing was announced at the same time is fitting, as well. Roldan and Morris became fast friends when they became teammates in 2016 and have remained close ever since. Roldan was a second-year player after being drafted out of the University of Washington in 2015, while Morris was a rookie after spending the three previous seasons at Stanford.
Both enjoyed breakout seasons that year as the Sounders won their first MLS Cup. Morris was named MLS Rookie of the Year after scoring 12 goals and adding four assists, while Roldan established himself as a starter with four goals and three assists.
Since then, Morris and Roldan have not only cemented their place as virtually automatic starters with the Sounders but have also been regular call-ups to the USMNT. Morris has 51 caps and Roldan has 32 caps.
Now in the prime of their careers, the expectation is that their level at least remains here, Schmetzer noted.
“I brought both of those men into my office in front of the coaching staff and outlined expectations about pushing them to do more,” he said. “They’re not going to get complacent because they signed a new contract. That’s not in the cards.”
Roldan said that he was presented with opportunities to go to Europe, but ultimately decided that the ability to consistently win with the Sounders was better than the uncertainty of a move.
“When you take in all the other factors, you realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side,” Roldan said. “Being here and being able to compete for trophies every year, being able to play alongside my brother and good friends, in front of the best fans in the league, it was a no-brainer to stay here and compete. I didn’t sign this deal to be happy and ride out my career. I stayed here to win, that’s my mindset: to win.
“There’s always talks about whether I should go or not, whether I’d be on the national team if I didn’t make a move, but when you win trophies it changes the way your career goes, the way people look at you and that’s what I want to be remembered for. I don’t want to play for a small club, I want to play for a big club that competes.”
The pressure to test himself in Europe has been even stronger with Morris, who chose to join the Sounders rather than Bundesliga club Werder Bremen out of college. Morris finally got his chance in Europe in 2020 when he joined Swansea City of the English Championship on loan, but that was cut short when he tore his ACL.
If that ends up being his only chance to compete in Europe, Morris seems to have come to terms with that.
“Everyone’s path is a little bit different and has to choose what’s best for them,” he said. “I had the experience in Europe, I unfortunately got hurt, but I’ve developed so well here, the league is continuing to grow, the level here is really high and it’s a difficult league to play in. I feel like I keep getting better and I still have more to learn.
“Things happen for a reason. I’m excited to be here. If I’d stayed there, maybe I wouldn’t have come back and won a Champions League. It led me to this new contract.”