Seattle Sounders sign Jordan Morris as Homegrown Player

SEATTLE - Jordan Morris is coming home.

Following months of speculation surrounding the future of the top amateur player in the nation, the Seattle Sounders announced Thursday that the prized local prospect has finally signed as a Homegrown Player.

Per league and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. But Sounders GM and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey – who officially welcomed Morris at Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle upon his arrival Wednesday night – said earlier this year the offer is the most lucrative Homegrown Player contract in league history.

“Today we’re excited and proud to officially welcome Jordan back into the Sounders FC organization,” Seattle Owner Adrian Hanauer said. “Jordan and his family have a long history with our organization, so it’s a pleasure to make him the seventh Homegrown Player in club history. As one of the most promising U.S. Soccer prospects in recent memory, we’re thrilled to have him join the club as we move into our eighth season in Major League Soccer.”

Morris, 21, joins the Sounders as the seventh and most celebrated Homegrown Player in franchise history, less than a week after German Bundesliga club Werder Bremen tried to lure him into a career abroad. But Morris – who hails from Mercer Island, attended the Sounders’ inaugural MLS game in 2009 and later played in the Sounders FC Academy – ultimately turned down the offer and returned Stateside on Wednesday night, then signed a contract in the Sounders’ Pioneer Square office in Seattle on Thursday morning.

His courtship from the Sounders and other suitors drew the attention of a wealth of American soccer’s heavyweights – MLS Commissioner Don Garber, U.S. national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and Sounders forward Clint Dempsey have each offered their opinions in recent days – and for good reason. Morris is arguably the most accomplished Homegrown Player in league history at just 21 years old, boasting an NCAA title and MAC Hermann Trophy with Stanford, as well as seven caps with the USMNT.

He made his debut with Klinsmann’s senior team as a sophomore in college in November 2014 and scored his first goal against Mexico six months later, becoming the first college player to score for the USMNT in 23 years.

Morris is set to join the USMNT’s January camp in California on Friday after a slew of media appearances in Seattle on Thursday.

“It’s very important for our organization to build from the Academy ranks, so we are very excited to sign Jordan as a Homegrown Player,” Sounders FC GM and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said. “Jordan had a fantastic collegiate career at Stanford and is now a regular U.S. national team player, so we think he’s a guy who can come in and make an impact immediately.”

Morris’ ties to the Sounders and to the community run deep. He’s the son of Dr. Michael Morris, the club’s Chief Medical Director, and he was a prep star at Mercer Island High School before joining the Sounders FC Academy in 2012.

Morris scored 27 goals in 28 matches for the Academy en route to winning the U-17/18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Player of the Year Award, and he played for the Sounders' U-23 side the following year.

Morris eventually left for Stanford and thrived during his first two seasons there, leading the Sounders to offer him a Homegrown Player contract last spring. Morris tabled the offer to return for his junior year, and he led the Cardinal to their first-ever NCAA title in December before he was named the nation’s top college soccer player earlier this month.

“We’ve been following Jordan for a long time and have been impressed with his athleticism, work rate and finishing ability,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “He’s also a guy with great character and a strong family who we know very well, so we think he’ll be a great fit for our team."

Morris is expected to join Seattle’s preseason after the conclusion of the USMNT camp in February. The Sounders open camp on Saturday at the Starfire Sports complex in suburban Tukwila.


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