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An Argument for Why Jordan Morris Must Move to MLS

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 14, 2015

Apr 15, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; United States forward Jordan Morris (8) celebrates after scoring a goal in the second half against Mexico in an international friendly at Alamodome. The United States defeated Mexico 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Morris cemented his spot on the American soccer landscape on April 15, when he netted the opening goal against Mexico at the Alamodome in San Antonio. 

Scoring against Mexico, whether it be in a competitive match or in a friendly, always puts a player in the good graces of the American fans. 

Now with the spotlight off him, Morris must find a way to work his potential into a consistent role on the international stage. But unlike every other player in the USMNT talent pool, Morris is still plying his trade at the collegiate level at Stanford University. 

According to an April report from Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl, the Seattle Sounders offered him one of the most lucrative deals for a homegrown player in the history of Major League Soccer. As a Seattle homegrown player, Morris' rights are owned by the Sounders.

Despite the latest round of interest and speculation, Morris is still set to play his junior season for the Cardinal in the fall instead of developing at the professional level. 

Apr 15, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; United States forward Jordan Morris (8) is pursued by Mexico defender Hiram Mier (21) in an international friendly at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to playing time, Morris will certainly receive plenty of that during the college season, and based off his recent international trajectory, he will be training with either the USMNT or United States U23 team over the next few months. 

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Since he will be a part of some type of national team program over the summer, Morris' fitness shouldn't be a major concern. 

If he stays in school, Morris has a chance to start every game when healthy and hone his skills while developing confidence in front of goal. If there is one quality any forward needs, it's confidence. In most matches he plays on the collegiate stage in 2015, Morris will be the best player on the pitch. 

If he lives up to the billing and leads Stanford to a successful season, there will be few concerns about what stage of the developmental process he is in. 

In an ideal world, Morris would thrive during his junior season at Stanford and then link up with the Sounders ahead of the 2016 MLS season. If he does that, Morris would most likely start out with the club's USL affiliate before earning playing time off the bench. It is worth noting that whenever he turns pro, Morris will find himself among stars such as Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins at the forward position. 

With Dempsey and Martins in the fold, Morris would not receive a ton of game action in MLS. But he would be able to work on fine tuning his individual prowess in front of goal with the Sounders 2 team in the USL. 

However, it is that exact detail mentioned above that people will use as an argument for Morris to turn pro at this juncture of his career.

Apr 15, 2015; San Antonio, TX, USA; Mexico player Gerardo Flores (15) goes into USA player Jordan Morris (8) during the International Friendly match at the Alamodome. USA won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to the rapid expansion of the USL, most of the teams in the lower division of American soccer have direct affiliation with clubs in MLS. 

If Morris were to turn pro, he would be handed a solid amount of playing time at a higher level than college in preparation for the Olympics and other major senior team competitions. 

Of the players called into the U23 squad for the April 22 friendly against Mexico, only two were based in college. The other one was UC Santa Barbara defender Sam Strong. 

Some doubters of Morris may argue that he is not competing against top-notch professional talent like some of his other U23 teammates, and that may hurt his stock in Brazil next year against some of the world's best young prospects. 

Instead of waiting until the start of 2016 to join up with the Sounders, Morris could opt to play professionally as early as this summer and earn valuable minutes for the MLS side. If he were to impress manager Sigi Schmid, he could find himself in the first team, especially when the club faces a crowded schedule toward the end of 2015. 

Most outsiders would claim spending an extra six months with the Sounders would benefit Morris more. By turning pro, the pressure of being the team's best player would be lifted off his shoulders, and he would be able to focus on his game without a ton of distractions. 

Both scenarios end with Morris being a main component of the Olympic roster next summer and a fixture at the forward position for the senior team for years to come. 

Based off the competition he will face with the Yanks over the next 12 months, the better decision in our eyes would be to link up with the Sounders now. 

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

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