2021 was a difficult year for Jordan Morris.
Following back-to-back elite seasons with his hometown club in 2019 and 2020, in which he 24 goals and 17 assist across 56 MLS appearances, Morris went on loan to Swansea City in the EFL Championship. His journey into European soccer was cut short, though, when he suffered an ACL injury in February.
Fast forward 10 months and Morris has already made his return to the pitch in competitive action with the Sounders and is now back in camp with the United States Men’s National Team.
“It’s been a long year for myself, personally,” Morris told media while with the USMNT. “Lots of games watched on the TV and watching from the sidelines. It was disappointing and frustrating. To be back with this group is amazing.”
When Morris suffered his injury, he was no stranger to the grueling rehabilitation process that lay ahead after coming back from a torn ACL in 2018. He told media on Monday that during his flight to LA for his surgery earlier this year, he set some ambitious goals for how he would once again return a new and improved player.
“On the plane ride down, I was working on my goal sheets for this year and next year, just trying to bring some positivity into things,” recalled Morris. “Part of my goals this year was trying to get back on the field before the season ended and get back into a national team camp before next year. Throughout all my recovery and everything I would go back to those and say this was my goal.”
According to Morris, the prospect of working his way back into the USMNT heading into a FIFA World Cup year was his light at the end of the tunnel as he worked day-in, day-out to recover from injury.
“I just set that goal at the beginning of the year that was what I was going to do,” added Morris. “Every day was kind of a competition to get to that point.”
Morris first burst onto the scene with the USMNT in 2014 while still playing college soccer at Stanford University, making his debut in a friendly against Ireland. He would go on to score his first senior national team goal in a match against Mexico on April 15, 2015. The Mercer Island native has gone on to record 10 goals and eight assists in 39 appearances with the Stars & Stripes.
Just past the halfway mark of the FIFA 2022 World Cup qualification process, the United States sits second in the octagonal. Morris stated that the opportunity to break back into the national team setup and represent his country at such a critical moment served as constant motivation as he worked his way back from his ACL injury this year.
“That was a big goal of mine also throughout my rehab: get back part of the national team,” he said. “The main goal was to recover and get back to my past as quickly as possible. And then try to get back in with this group because that just means everything.”
You can learn more about the USMNT December camp HERE.