Had he gone to Werder Bremen (which looks increasingly unlikely, according to the latest reports), he would toil away rather anonymously while chasing playing time with a bunch of other young hopefuls. In Germany, he is just another big, strong kid making his case for a mid-level team.
But a slightly heavier burden falls if he signs with the Sounders, where Morris’s deal with Seattle will easily eclipse all previous MLS contracts for homegrown players, according to Seattle manager Sigi Schmid and general manager Garth Lagerwey. The pressure starts and builds from there.
Generally speaking, we would probably agree that pressure to win in MLS is jayvee-level compared to expectations in Germany. See Klinsmann’s “bakery theory,” above. Or just think about the build-up of decades upon decades of pressure in England, Germany, Italy, Spain, etc.
On the other hand, there are a couple of MLS outposts where hope and expectancy weigh heavy. Seattle, of course, with its billowing and boisterous fan base, is one of them. The Sounders organization has achieved so, so much since joining MLS in 2009. (It’s a history rich club that achieved amply prior to MLS days, too, of course.) But the granddaddy of MLS spoils, the MLS Cup, has yet to find its way into CenturyLink Field. The club has yet to appear as a finalist even, and the squeeze to get there approaches crush depth.
As if the two-ton pressure wasn’t clunky enough already, now bitter rival Portland has an MLS Cup crown. Talk about super-sizing the tension!
So, clearly, Morris would tote his share of the load where club hope and promise mount for Sounders FC.
SEE MORE: Morris’s decision won’t hurt the USMNT.
Then comes the competition aspect. At CenturyLink, Morris will presumably compete for front-line spots with Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Nelson Valdez. If you say, “Schmid will be under pressure to play the big, homegrown signing,” well, you might be correct. But every manager dwells under constant pressure to play the high earning DPs as well; Dempsey, Martins and Valdez are all DPs. So there’s that.
There is plenty of competition for minutes. Being no expert on Werder Bremen’s roster and current player form, I cannot establish a clear “more” or “less” level here compared to Seattle. But we can all reasonably agree that minutes for Morris in MLS aren’t going to be handed to him; he’ll earn his time through effort, tactical comprehensive and ultimate production … or he’ll sit.