As much of the US soccer media gathered in Los Angeles Tuesday for the 2016 edition of MLS media day, much of the American soccer world focused on the decision of a 21-year old-half a world away. In case you were separated from water, toilet, roaming data or internet, Jordan Morris has decided to turn down a reported contract offer from Werder Bremen of the Bundesliga because, at present, he wants to remain in America.
The decision by Morris was reported early Tuesday morning on Werder Bremen’s club website, with the following statement from club chief executive Thomas Eichin.
“Following intense talks, the player made clear that he currently sees his future in America. Of course we respect this decision.”
That the club even issued a statement after not signing a player who was at the club on trial is a testament to their respect for Andi Herzog, the Austrian who manages Morris with the US U-23s and who starred for Die Werderaner as a player.
Morris is expected to sign a Homegrown Player deal with Seattle in the near future.
It is difficult to blame Morris, who according to Sounders general manager Garth Lagerway is set to sign the most lucrative Homegrown Player deal in MLS history, for staying home and getting paid. No specifics are known about Werder Bremen’s offer, but it is difficult to imagine, even with the lavish wages of high-level European soccer, that Werder’s offer was any larger than what Seattle is prepared to pay the Stanford product.
But finances aren’t a sole consideration, and from a purely soccer perspective, the questions and rapid fire reaction to Morris’s decision to stay at home was largely negative. Yes, there were some reasonable takes, like this one …
Jordan Morris is choosing between several really good options so no, I don’t care which one he picks. Do you, kid.
— Ryan Rosenblatt (@RyanRosenblatt) January 19, 2016
… but by and large, the social media response was what you’d expect from American soccer Twitter: messy, negative, hot and not entirely fact-driven. Morris was lambasted for not embracing that holy grail of American footballing challenges, playing in a top league in Europe, and called everything from a coward to (gasp) “another Landon Donovan.”
Setting aside for a moment that Morris being “another Landon Donovan” means we can all make hotel reservations for the 2018 World Cup quarterfinals, what resonates in the Morris fear are two arguments, neither of which is innovative or recent.