By RYAN TOLMICH
Jordan Morris has decided to wait one more year before going pro.
Stanford confirmed to SBI that the 20-year-old forward will return to the Cardinal for his junior season. The forward, who hails from Mercer Island, Washington, reportedly turned down a homegrown player contract from the Seattle Sounders.
“After much thought and discussion with my family and coaches, I have decided to continue my education at Stanford and will return to The Farm for my junior year,” Morris said in a statement. “My teammates, coaches, professors and peers make Stanford a special place. Here I am provided the unique opportunity to both play the game I love and learn at one of the world’s great universities.
“Playing professionally is a dream of mine and I feel that Stanford will prepare me extremely well to realize that goal, but also for life after soccer. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to represent this university both on and off the field and look forward to working with my teammates to make our 2015 season a success.”
Morris came to prominence in August when the Cardinal forward became the first collegiate player to earn a call-up to the U.S. Men’s National Team since Chris Albright in 1999. The 20-year-old proceeded to become the first college player to earn a cap since 1995 in the USMNT’s 4-1 loss to Ireland in November.
With Stanford, Morris was a Hermann Trophy semifinalist and scored four goals and added six assists in 15 starts.
A member of the Seattle Sounders youth setup since 2012, Morris remains eligible for a homegrown player contract with Seattle.
What do you think of the decision? What do you expect from Morris in 2015?
Share your thoughts below.
Maybe heven is just keeping his options open. Once he signs with Seattle he is forever Sounders property. If he waits he could get: 1) a better offer from MLS. 2) a better offer from a non MLS team. 3) a better offer from an overseas club
And if he ever has to play in MLS, he could choose the team he wants.
Sorry, he is dumb he can turn pro, and still go to Stanford. Its not like being a professional soccer player is a 8-6 job. But I think like many others have stated maybe his intentions for becoming a pro don’t match the ridiculous hype that surrounds him. No more celebratory contracts, time to earn it I’m good with that.
“he is dumb”????? Why? He is sophomore at Stanford. He has 2 more years left (if he chooses to finish school). Stanford is $58,388 per year (including $44,184 for tuition). That means he would have to pay $88,000 for tuition not to mention the cost of books. So let’s assume $90,000 for tuition and books. That does not include cost of living.
Let’s assume his cost of living (rent, insurance, transportation, entertainment etc) is low, that would still be about 35K (assuming he does not have to buy a car). He would need AT LEAST $80,000-90,000 after taxes each year to pay for tuition and live while playing soccer. That would be roughly $125,000 (depending on what state he lives in). Seeing the median pay is $75,000 in MLS, $125,000 would probably put him in the top 9 or 10%: http://www.tableausoftware.com/public/gallery/mlssalary).
Now, that does not take into account logistics. The only MLS team close to Stanford (to a certain degree) is San Jose, and that is still a hike from Palo Alto. Not to mention, speaking from experience, collegiate soccer takes up approximately 30 hours a week including practice, team meetings, games and commuting to games etc). I got to figure MLS requires more time. Let’s assume 40+ hrs.
I just don’t see it as feasible, so not dumb. Especially given then making 125,000 for Stanford grad is not uncommon about 5 years out.
Honest question here.
Can’t he sign for the Sounders for a minimal contract and then get loaned to the Earthquakes so he can stay in school and still train/play some minutes at pro level? Even if he drops off the Cardinal.
Isn’t it an option? Is there some rule that prevents it?
Aren’t there guys who do something like that with baseball?
There was a 6’10” Princeton U. basketball player drafted and signed by the baseball Rangers in his Sophomore year. He continued in school, but was not allowed to play basketball per his Rangers contract (they had an arrangement where he spent the summers with the Ranger’s minor league team but the academic year in Princeton).
So yes an MLS team could do what you suggest, but what is the upside for the team? It would take up a roster spot for a player who would not be available for many practices and some travel.
Good for him, if he has the goods it will all work itself out, if he doesn’t, he still has a Stanford degree.
Exactly. He’ll need something to fill in the last 50-ish years of his life once he’s done playing soccer.
To get to the top a player needs to be fully committed from an early age and this guy don’t seem to be willing to take the risk. I’m not saying there’s something wrong with his decision, but he’s wasting valuable developing time by staying in an amateur setting.
Even if he turns out to be a pretty good player we’ll never know how good he could’ve been if he’d decided to become a pro earlier.
Rest assured that Morris will be the best player he can possibly be because, regardless of what anyone else does, he cannot be any greater than he will allow himself to be.
Exactly. The standard for American players is not that high to begin with and it seems he’s a little ahead of the curve. By the time it’s allsaid and done he’ll be a couple of years behind his counterparts from around the world…… But a damn good accountant.
I would say he’s wasting his talent but a true footballer doesn’t pass up on opportunities like that. Football was never his thing.
You are making a lot of assumptions about a 20 year old kid based on very little data.
What evidence do you have that he is interested in being an accountant?
And you have no idea what his best soccer might actually be.
Every player is different. 20 year old kids in other countries may be more technically advanced than him right now but while odds are against him, he may find a way to catch up.
Being a great soccer player is not just about sheer technical skill. There has been more than a few technically superior players who have turned out to be complete busts.
Besides, there is no guarantee he stays in college if a better offer turns up.
He will never catch up. It just doesn’t happen. Wasted time is wasted time. It never comes back unless your competition also take 4 years off serious training, which won’t happen outside players whose higher ambition is an MLS contract.
While technical abilities are not the only thing that’s necessary to be a top soccer player without them you cannot become one. There has never been a great soccer player with substandard technical skills. Never.
“That Jozy Altidore is a great soccer player too bad his technical abilities are substandar ” said no one ever.
If this kid wants to maximize his earning potential over his soccer development then more power to him. Let’s just no pretend this is what’s best football wise. It’s not.
Do you know who Chicharito is? His overall technical soccer skills are not great in all respects but he can score goals at the highest level.
If you really want to get right down to it. Morris at 20 already has his technical skill set. He was already an old man by some standards when JK capped him and most of us first heard of him.
His success from here on in depends on how well he takes care of himself and how well he learns how to make the most of that skill set, whatever it is.
Speaking of pretending, let’s not pretend like you know exactly what is going to happen with this Morris kid.
He could get a nice offer from somewhere tomorrow or an improved offer from MLS the next day and then decide to reverse his course.
This is not the decision of someone who is really serious about becoming the best soccer player he can be. That’s pretty obvious. Too bad. There’s lots of guys with a degree from Stanford but not many elite soccer players.
But again, who cares? Oh right: you. Not Morris, but you.
Nevermind that it’s his life to choose to try and be the greatest _____ in the world or not. “Too bad” because you don’t get what you want out of someone else’s life? He’s not ruining his soccer career or his academic career with this decision.
..but this is the decision of someone who is mitigating the risk while still keeping all options open. USMNT history is full of young sure things who turned into passable pros, but nothing special (or out of soccer entirely by 30).
I went to an Ivy League school, and Stanford is he same thing. Everyone I know makes more than the average MLS player. In fact, everyone I know makes more than anyone outside the top 2% in MLS. There is no guarantee that he would ever make the top 2%. Why throw it away or at least not get lost scholarship money plus income?
Off subject but anyone know when the January camp roster is suppose to be announced?
It costs over 50K per year to attend Stanford and the average Stanford grads earns at least 100k.
So if it was not a six figure homegrown deal with a college fund, why take it?
I’m no expert on them but MLS contracts for young players seem to me to be pretty limiting in terms of your options.
Morris is no superstar prodigy but he’s not a stiff either. That JK saw fit to cap a college kid tells you has something. And that little fact will likely earn him interest from other suitors. Based on what little I’ve seen of him, he reminds me of that kid Van Gaal has at Man. U., the striker Wilson.
It seems to me Morris’ parents did not raise a moron.
This whole thing feels like a negotiating ploy. There is the old saying about when they say it’s not about the money it always is.
^ This. I see this as a great move on his part. Keep his options open. As you stated, GW, JK capping this kid (for better or worse) is a seal of approval in the eyes of some European scouts because he is seen as having a degree of credibility. All USMNT fans do not have to like him, but JK still has A LOT of credibility in football circles abroad.
People are getting quite carried away over the value of a Stanford diploma here…. While it is an excellent school and does offer a great starting point for its grads, the average Stanford grad does not just walk out of school into a six figure job. Average starting salary is about $61k (per Payscale dot com…. though there are many sources for this data)…. many other top soccer schools such as UCLA, Cal UVA, Notre Dame,etc. boast starting salaries for grads in the 50k-60k range. Morris’s negotiating position is not THAT unusual, he just happens to be using it better.
Juergen to Morris – ” you’re young do not sign with MLS. I tell all of my young players this.”
Morris’s to Juergen “but no one wants to sign me from overseas.”
Juergen to Morris “you wait and play in the youth tourneys representing the U.S. and someone will give you a trial. You wait and see.”
Meanwhile Sounders front office namely Hanauer and Lagerwey are furious.
I think he made the absolutely correct decision. He needs to stay in Stanford and get his degree. If MLS or somewhere else happens…that’s a bonus. If not, he has that Stanford degree to fall back on.
Anyone else that thinks otherwise is being selfish and not thinking about what is best for Jordan. As for JK, if skipping college is the correct thing to do, why is his kid (big mouth) going toe college route?
Great comment, education > soccer if you can go to a school like Stanford
Completely agree! I think the kids that belong in college should spend at least 2 or 3 years there. It didn’t really hurt Yedlin, Edu, Sacha, Omar Gonzalez too much. They all sent 2 or 3 seasons in college. He should just be playing at a high level PDL/USL Pro team in the off-season. Lots of guys nowadays do that. If things don’t workout, he would only be a year short. Plus, he will only be 21.
Those guys who are not college material will go pro (which is most professional athletes in the world — Rooney can barely read!!!). Those with options need to mitigate the risks. If you want him to take a chance, pay the price!!!
Rooney maybe cannot read but I’m sure he knows enough about math to check his financial statements.
+1 I think this whole discussion would offer a lot more clarity if anybody had some definitive proof of how good the kid actually is. Seems like maybe his intelligence and independent thinking actually *is* what differentiates him.
It’s not like he’s produced such unbelievable stats, or other tangible markers that we can say “This kid is a can’t-miss talent” Perhaps the entire reason that JK or the Sounders are enamored with him is that he is intelligent enough to think for himself and not scared to carve his own path… I’m glad he’s doing what he wants.
People will complain about Lampard making MLS look small time but this kind of thing if far more detrimental to growing the game here. We cannot be a serious soccer nation with top 18-22 year olds playing college soccer. Fortunately, the trend is away from this sort of thing and hopefully with MLS teams setting up reserve sides, that should continue.
“We cannot be a serious soccer nation with top 18-22 year olds playing college soccer.”
I hate to be the first to tell you but the US is a serious soccer nation.
There is plenty of room for improvement and the talent pool is still third or maybe fourth rate but anyone who thinks the US is not a serious soccer nation is misguided.
I think you’re redefining “serious” at slowleftarm’s expense. I took his comment to mean, “serious; i.e., top five soccer nation; i.e., a true contender”—which the US decidedly is not…and is not even close.
Mr. arm left his definition of “serious” open to interpretation.
He is free to define it more clearly if the thought of others , such as you, doing it is of concern to him.
I am confident that any neutral half way sane person will look over the game’s progress in this country and USMNT’s’ program since 1990 and conclude that calling the US a serious soccer nation is a reasonable thing to do.
Oh sigh GW, I think sometimes—as in this case—you nitpick just for the sake of it.
“I am confident that any neutral half way sane person….”
So your first comment was for whose benefit?
If you guys think the US is a serious soccer nation in 2015, we have very different definitions of serious. Don’t get me wrong – the strides we’ve made in the last 25 years are incredible and way beyond what more people probably envisioned. But I’m talking about becoming a country where soccer is one of the top sports, if not the top. It can happen. I’m talking about semi-finals of the world cup being the minimum expectation or even a disappointment. We can do it but it’s going to take time and it’s going to require growing the game well beyond where it is now.
Anyway, I should have added that, on our journey to becoming a serious soccer nation, ditching college soccer for our elite players (which is starting to happen on a wider scale) is an important step.
We’re an elite baseball and hockey nation, but we have not dropped collegiate baseball for all our elite athletes in those sports. Sometimes, a hybrid solution is best to cover everybody.
Morris should do what Morris wants.
In general college soccer is a pretty smart route for most players. No pro scout will tell you they can tell which of the 20 best prospects they have on their radar will actually pan out. There is way too much uncertainty in predicting the future. With a limited number of professional teams, casting a wide enough net to pull in all the roughly equivalent players is impossible. There are enough college teams to provide the opportunity to play at a decent level for many more players.
The approach should be to either increase the number of professional teams with youth teams to well over 200 or improve the soccer setup at the roughly 200 D-1 teams plus the D-III and JC programs. Clearly unless there is a sudden rush to spend money on professional teams, the college path will continue to be the one most players chose simply because it is the one available.
Lengthening the college season to include the spring in a more meaningful way and extending it so the fall tournament ends in January is reasonable. Regular season games through Thanksgiving weekend and NCAA tournament games in Dec. would work if the tournament games were held in southern locations.
Anyone see him play and know why he’s so highly rated? A highly rated striker has alot of goals or a 2nd forward has alot of assists. Morris has neither.
It’s not what he is doing at college that matters to pro scouts. It’s what they think he can do at the pro level.
Maybe the fact that the Sounders are so stacked and the choice of getting little playing time vs. continuing with his degree was a no brainer.
Europe, Mexico, etc.
Maybe he didn’t have those options.
Or didn’t want them. Wouldn’t be the first pro who didn’t relish the thought of living 5,000 miles away from family.
How many of you attended Stanford? Show of hands, please.
All due respect but with his CV/caps, likely salary level, and perhaps a GA offer covering Stanford he could start his seeming career choice and finish Stanford also. Unless he doesn’t want to play pro soccer, he is as well positioned as a kid his age gets to command salary. If MLS won’t offer it go pro abroad. But by going back to school he risks injury and performance dip, with little financial upside. Winning a Herrmann isn’t going to get him any/much more than a US cap already would. He gets hurt and he will need the education and he will be a stock broker or doctor or lawyer or whatever. If he goes and plays soccer at the salary he would command even if not GA he could bank the money to finish Stanford in one season.
I mean, he’s still an undeclared major.
On further review, MLS does seem to be clamping down on rookie salaries. But then you shop abroad.
This is what I am saying. MLS should do something to entice kids who have real options. The very least should be guarantee lost scholarship if one forgoes it to go pro and signs a homegrown contract. Otherwise, if he could get an offer making 300-400k/year abroad for 2/3 years, take that. That amount is actually very low for the Eredivisie and low for Belgium. However, it is typical for Norway etc. I went to similar school like Morris (Ivy League School with good soccer). I didn’t have his level talent so, it was grad school for me. If I had his level talent, I would not have come out for 70k/year especially since (1) Stanford gives 50k/year scholarship, (2) most guys who go pro wash out in 2-5 years, and (3) most Ivy League level kids come out making $60K/year or more in careers that don’t end at 35.
I actually can’t blame the kid for this. MLS is going to be there, but he’ll need something to fall back on when he retires at 32. A degree from Stanford isn’t a bad thing.
MLS didn’t offer him enough money. Too bad.
MLS wasn’t offering good money. Kid has options.
Wouldn’t be shocked to see Jurgen make help him get to Europe
I tend to agree with the not enough money
True, JK is a bitter, petty man so no doubt he’d like to stick it to MLS which, for some reason, he sees as his enemy.
I used to get angry at your embittered rants, but now, I just think there are funny 🙂 Can’t wait for the responses. Hey you forgot the part about the pitchfork and making a satanic deal..
Honestly, I don’t think Klinsmann dislikes MLS. He’s called on many MLS players who he clearly rates (Besler, Yedlin, Gonzo, Zusi, Wondo, etc). Beckerman is a prime example, a lot of people were criticizing Klinsmann for consistently calling him in, but all Klinsmann had was praise, and Beckerman was very good in the WC.
Like you, I strongly dislike Eurosnobs. I follow and watch MLS, as well as EPL, Bundesliga, etc, and I think Major League Soccer is a solid, underrated league that has improved greatly and will continue to improve. There is quality in MLS. However, it’s important for us all to know that the top leagues are far greater than MLS, and it’s no question having your top players playing for top teams is crucial. Klinsmann isn’t the only national team coach that preaches this. We sometimes live in our own little soccer world, but there’s so much more out there. It’s reality, plain and simple. In order to be the best you have to beat the best, and we won’t get there without having players playing in top teams. We will NOT win the world cup without having playersthat play in the EPL, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A.
I have to love and respect the value Morris has for his education. However, education will always be there to fall back on while a professional career can be gone before you know it. It’s his decision, rightfully so, but I would like to think Morris would thrive and develop faster and or efficiently in a professional environment.
The Sounders offered him slightly more than HALF of what they offered him last year. Pretty insulting. I don’t blame him for staying.
I think you’re confusing Morris and the Sounders with Leo Stoltz. The Sounders absolutely did not cut Morris’ offer.
Complete waste of time. 20 year olds with an intention of playing professional soccer shouldn’t be putzing around playing college soccer. If he flops he can always go back to Stanford later, so please don’t give me that excuse.
“Complete” waste of time? Hmmm. Maybe this 20-yr old doesn’t care whether or not he plays professional soccer at the highest possible level. If so, I don’t see him losing anything by waiting. It’s not like he needs the money right now. Maybe there’s a better CBA next year…
I’m a huge advocate for, in general, players skipping college altogether, playing professionally, saving money, and going to college (or job) in their 30s. But Morris is apparently good enough that he can play according to his own career goals.
Stanford is a school for smart kids. He has tons of great options outside of soccer.
This isn’t SEC football
Then why has about every Rookie of the Year save Najar been a college player?
The reality is it’s a rare kid who’s ready to play with adults at 18 and there are endless examples of kids signed as HGPs who came to nothing and might have been better off going to college, both for the degree and what it represents, and to provide themselves someplace to get playing time while they develop.
MLS is making strides on the 18-23 bridge but only when it’s built and working well will pro development eclipse college and club.
Total waste. He’s playing a handful of games a year in a condensed season against incredibly low level competition. If he’s not interested in improving his game or playing at the highest level, why should I care? The sooner we move away from top players wasting their 18-22 years like this, stunting their development, the sooner we can become a serious soccer nation.
Who exactly are many MLS draft picks this season playing against? Minor leaguers on loan? Riding the bench?
I had classmates who went to bigger name soccer schools and sat. I went to a lesser soccer school and played from nearly day one. Guess who could play better in a couple years? First team reps matter. Playing time matters.
“First team reps matter. Playing time matters.”
Up to a point that is true. After that, a lot of other considerations kick in.
The kid who is excelling at the “lower level” is proving he can excel at the “lower level”. That is all.
The kid at the higher level who is not playing as much potentially may be a superior player but maybe you don’t know.
And since we are talking about what a pro scout would think about young players then it is likely the pro scout is always going to be more interested in the kid with the higher potential ceiling.
They are not interested in great college players as much as they are interested in players who could become great professional players.
The two are not necessarily the same thing.
Unless MLS guarantees him the money he would have gotten for the lost scholarship on top of his normal pay, I support him. The only reason I like certain leagues like Netherlands and Belgium is because young players will make enough money in a 4 year period to come back and pay for college ($50k/year after taxes) while still playing at higher skill level.
Now there are some guys who do not belong in college. However, that is not his case (clearly). Besides, you know that most guys who go pro at 18 barely make it. If they do, they are decent pros making 100k/year until they are 35 and retire. Very few guys become national team quality and even less make millions. Then what options do they have? coaching and commentating are even harder to get. If the kid is smart enough to get into Stanford and he has other options, he should make decisions that don’t foreclose on other viable opportunities.
If the MLS and USSF want to mitigate these losses, how about (1) having teams that offer homegrown contracts pay for lost scholarships (have to be exercised before 30 yrs old), (2) given the size of the US, have more USL Pro Teams, that close to university cluster areas, where kids with elite level talent can play in the off-season.
slowleftarm: You’re still not getting it. It’s Morris’ decision calculated (presumably) to maximize Morris’ career and life goals—which apparently don’t include the Jay DeMerit route to soccer profession.
He said he “dreamed” of playing professionally, not that he “dreamed of playing Champions League and leading the USA to World Cup victory.” Staying at Stanford—even if he doesn’t improve (or play again for the USMNT)—keeps him in contention for a professional career with MLS and other leagues. So, no, it’s not a “total waste.”
“The sooner we move away from top players [going to college] the sooner we can become a serious soccer nation.”
Ah, so you’re concerned about Morris wasting your time. I don’t speak for him, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t care about your time.
Slowleftarm please, “Complete waste of time” might be one of the worst overstatements i’ve ever heard. Let’s say Jordan Morris skips college, goes right to the pros and maximizes his potential. At the absolute best case scenario, he maybe earns a salary in the low millions for a few years before his career is over. At the absolute worst, he washes out and make’s squat as a soccer coach. Going to Stanford and getting his degree all but guarantees that he will be set for life and more likely than not he’ll make more money with his Stanford degree than he will as a professional soccer player. So forgive Jordan and his family for wanting the best for him and not entertaining our wishes to have a slightly better USMNT. (Also, Stanford has very little room to accept transfer students or extramural students each year, so realistically his chances of leaving to play soccer and then coming back to get his degree are close to none).
Leaving Stanford for $40k-$60 from MLS isn’t the brightest idea.
How long before Klinsmann calls out Morris for not maximizing his potential?
Juergen’s gon’ be piiiiiiiiissed….
No no. he won’t. JK will now say that college ball is better than MLS and that Morris is only challenging himself
Word is MLS super low balled him …………..and every other prospect this year. Thats why the superdraft is so weak this year. Blame Danny Mwanga and Andrew Wenger for that.