Jordan Morris is a 21-year-old striker who has played for the Seattle Sounder’s youth academy and Stanford University. He’s made seven appearances for the U.S. national team, scoring one goal against Mexico. U.S. fans and media have identified him as their next great hope and have become heavily invested in his career decisions as a result, benefitting no one.
After announcing he would forgo his senior season at Stanford to pursue a professional career, and traveling to Germany to train with Werder Bremen, Morris opted to turn down a contract offer from the relegation threatened Bundesliga club.
Werder CEO Thomas Eichin told the club’s official website:
“Following intense talks, the player made clear that he currently sees his future in America. Of course, we respect this decision. We’re in a situation now where we need players who fully identify with Werder and the way things are done here, in order for them to focus properly on the task ahead. For this reason, we have ruled out a transfer for the time being, but we will remain in close contact with him and are still entertaining the idea of working together in the future.”
Just as every step Morris took in Germany became news Stateside, pushing the hype and anticipation further and further from reason, this announcement has sparked an absurd amount of earnest analysis as to whether he’s making a good career move or not.
Why? Because the U.S. has never produced an international superstar in this sport. And the sweaty desire to change that yesterday keeps progressing the same way as Chris Farley’s sale analogy in Tommy Boy.
As of right now Jordan Morris is just a young(ish) player with unquantifiable potential. He hasn’t played a single match as a professional and he has fewer goals for the U.S. national team than Freddy Adu. In 2015, he won the Hermann Trophy for being the country’s top college soccer player, but the last Hermann Trophy winner to do anything of note at the international level was Claudio Reyna. He won it in 1993 and has been retired for nearly a decade.
Jordan Morris is coming from an NCAA system out of sync with the rest of the world’s development systems in this sport and a country that has never produced a world beater. The unfortunate truth is that he most likely won’t be as good as many people hope he will be, regardless of where he starts his professional career.
To put it another way, the debate and armchair analysis of Morris’ career decisions at this point are like getting worked about about how a kid plans to spend his money if he wins the lottery. He’s more than likely not going to win that jackpot in the first place. And even if he does, it would be his money and his life. So if living in a big house in one country makes him happier than living in a big house in another country, then bully for him.
The only correct opinion on Jordan Morris’ career at this point is none at all. Declaring his choices right or wrong when he has as much professional experience as you and I (unless you’re reading this, Alexi…then it’s just I) is impossible. Maybe a season or two in MLS would boost his confidence and help him attract interest from bigger clubs than Werder Bremen or maybe he’ll score 5-10 goals a season for the Seattle Sounders and eventually retire at 30 to become an accountant. Or maybe he’ll get drafted into President Trump’s Classy and Luxurious Army and build condos in Antartica. Who knows.
What we do know is that too much scrutiny now can only push him toward ending up like Tommy Boy’s pet roll or so many other overhyped young American players who have come before him. Of course, he deserves the same amount of support and encouragement as everyone else, but premature judgment and expectations will only feed the egos of people who may or may not be Jordan Morris.