Jurgen Klinsmann supports Jordan Morris joining MLS, Seattle Sounders
CARSON, California -- U.S. men's national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann has given his full approval to an apparent decision by Jordan Morris to start his professional career in Major League Soccer with the Seattle Sounders.
Morris concluded a 10-day trial with Bundesliga side Werder Bremen and even assisted on a goal in a training match back on Jan. 15. But just days after taking an optimistic tack as to Morris' potential capture, the club announced Tuesday that they wouldn't be offering the Stanford junior a contract.
That news cleared the way for Morris to sign with Seattle, who have reportedly offered him the richest homegrown player contract in MLS history.
"I'm thrilled that Jordan decided to go pro," Klinsmann said in an exclusive interview with ESPN FC. "This is the really important decision. And I'm thrilled with the Sounders, that he goes into an environment that he knows, that he feels comfortable with, and that he feels now that, 'At this specific point in time, this is the best move for me.'"
Morris, a former U20 international, has long been considered a rising talent in the U.S. system. But he really caught Klinsmann's eye when he scored in a training match for Stanford against the U.S. during the team's preparations for the 2014 World Cup.
Morris made his full international debut in a friendly against Ireland the following November. He then scored his first goal at full international level six months later when he netted in a 2-0 win over Mexico.
Since then, the attention on Morris has skyrocketed. He recently led Stanford to the collegiate national championship, scoring 13 goals and adding three assists, and his decision as to his first pro destination has been eagerly awaited.
Official confirmation has yet to be communicated, but the Sounders have scheduled a press conference on Thursday for "a special announcement" at which time it is expected that Morris will be unveiled as a Seattle player.
That news would sit just fine with Klinsmann.
"[Morris] feels he's not ready for Europe," Klinsmann said. "He feels the next big step for him is the Sounders where he knows everybody, and for us it's great because the moment he steps now on the training field he's in a professional environment. That's good."
Klinsmann did add that the he was pleased that Morris took the opportunity to train with Werder Bremen, an arrangement that was set up by U.S. national team assistant Andi Herzog, himself a former Bremen player.
"Morris got a sense for a Bundesliga team, a European team," he said. "That kind of gave him a first hint of, 'How is it handled overseas, and how does it compare to what I know in Seattle?'
"I'm just happy that this step -- Stanford too -- to a professional level is now happening. I think it's good timing for him, and we get him now on a far more intense schedule and demanding environment that he has to fight his way through at the pro level."
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So does Klinsmann wish Morris had turned pro earlier?
"No, for us, when we saw him, even before we had that scrimmage at the World Cup, we saw the potential, we saw the talent," he said. "But we also saw the personal development, meaning the off the field development.
"I think the timing of how he actually went with [Stanford head coach] Jeremy Gunn guiding him through the process was instinctively really thought through. You can't expect that you win the NCAA then at the end of that path, but it couldn't have been any more perfect. Because he leaves college now with that very, very special achievement and pushes himself to the pros.
"Looking at all these choices that he made so far, they were all very, very good choices, good decisions that he made."