The Sounders have confirmed the signing of homegrown star and U.S. national team member Jordan Morris.
A few quick highlights from the press conference:
He seems a supernaturally mature young man.
Sigi Schmid says he is likely to shift to three strikers to accommodate Morris, Dempsey, Oba and Valdez. ... Also notes some will be away at certain times. ... Also notes Morris young enough to handle some outside duty.
Schmid says he doesn’t expect any of Morris’ development to show up with the Sounders 2 developmental team.
Morris says he understands he may need to pay some dues and not start or star immediately. But he says he feels he belongs.
GM Garth Lagerwey said he expects Morris, Dempsey, Oba and Valdez to all remain with the club.
Schmid says Morris a key piece to an off-season in which progress was made on the club goal of becoming younger and more athletic.
Both Lagerwey and owner Adrian Hanauer say they are conscious of letting Morris play soccer and not making him too much the posterboy of the club or a symbol of anything.
Morris says he knows of no international duties that would take him away from the Sounders’ for the MLS season opener at CenturyLink Field.
The club reports to training tomorrow.
Here is a roundup of quotes provided by the club:
SOUNDERS FC OWNER ADRIAN HANAUER
On signing Jordan Morris:
"I have to be honest - this addition to our team has been more emotional for me than most players that we've signed in the past. I kept coming back to several themes. Maybe character is the overused descriptor term in sports these days. But it really applies to this process and the people involved in getting us to where we are today. Obviously this started a while back."
On the process of signing Morris:
"This has been a 10-year signing process, given the length of the relationship we've had with the Morris family. All along the way, this process has been brought with immense character and integrity on both sides."
On Morris' commitment to Stanford:
"We certainly wanted to sign Jordan before today, but he made a commitment to Stanford University. He made a commitment to his teammates, to his coach. Every six months we would try to test that commitment, but he was steadfast in what he had committed to. It is the kind of person you want in your organization and on your team in the locker room."
On the process of signing Morris:
"I am really proud to say that things were transparent, honest, and clear. For me, at least, it feels like the process was such a good part to getting us to where we are today."
On the importance of family as an organization:
"The people in our business operations group, on the soccer side, we talk a lot about the Sounders family. That means all the way from our fans to our corporate partners to our media partners. Certainly, the people who work for Sounders FC, the team side. Media, as well. It's really important to me that we operate as a family. Again, it got me a little emotional thinking about the Morris family, Jordan continuing to be part of the Sounders family. It's more than just a player signing - it's someone who has grown up in the Sounders family, which led me to the final thing that struck me this morning. I would describe it as tradition and history."
On growing up with the Sounders, just like Morris:
"A lot of you know that I grew up with the original NASL Sounders, going to those games. It left an indelible arc on me. Going to the camps, meeting the players, having them be my heroes - I wanted to be a Sounder someday....Jordan is one of a growing generation of young men who are growing up in a time when they know nothing else than MLS existing. I would like to believe that the Sounders, the family, the integrity, the character, the commitment to community and all of the great people around the organization have left an indelible arc on him, as well."
On the club's commitment to Morris' development:
"There is no soccer organization in the world that cares more about the development of Jordan Morris as a young man and as a soccer player than the Sounders. That's related to the people in the organization and his ties to the organization."
SOUNDERS FC FORWARD JORDAN MORRIS
On his connection to the club:
"I lived around Seattle my whole life and I grew up following this club in its USL days, and MLS days as well. It's a huge honor to be back here, to be back home, and to get going."
On his trial with Werder Bremen:
"It was a great experience, but I always knew that I wanted to come home. My time over there was a good experience and a cool one, but it reaffirmed that I wanted to play in front of my hometown - in front of the 45,000 fans at CenturyLink."
On choosing when to decide to go professional:
"After my sophomore year I was considering it, but I had some unfinished business that I wanted to accomplish and felt like I had a commitment to my teammates at Stanford to help them win a national championship. It worked out this year and it was a great way to go out. I felt more ready this year than I did after my sophomore year. Winning a national championship makes it a little easier."
On if he feels he has added pressure being a local player:
"No, I don't look it as pressure. I look at it as an opportunity to continue to grow in an environment that I am comfortable in. I think it is great to be surrounded by family and surrounded by such a great organization because I know that I will be comfortable."
On the input of other players on deciding what to do:
"The main consensus I got out of it was to follow you heart and follow what you think is right, and not to listen to the outside world. I came to the decision that this is where I wanted to be. Obviously it is great to have that support."
SOUNDERS FC GENERAL MANAGER & PRESIDENT OF SOCCER GARTH LAGERWEY
On the process of signing Morris:
"I understood it was going to be a longer process, and at the end of the season I knew it was going to come down to what Jordan wanted to do...Over the last few months, it was a process. Jordan needed to get some information and new experiences, then decided what he was most comfortable with. This was not about us recruiting him, it was about a relationship and ultimately Jordan deciding what's best for his career."
On Morris' decision process:
"At the end of the day, it wasn't up to me and it wasn't up to us, it was up to Jordan and where he wanted to start his career. I think there is a lot of data, objectively, as to why MLS is a great place to start your career...Ultimately, Jordan agreed with me and agreed with us, and in my opinion it was more about the relationships of the Morris family and Jordan himself, personally, to the staff, owner and the city of Seattle."
SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH SIGI SCHMID
On signing Morris:
"Obviously we are very excited. It's a great day for MLS; it's a great day for the Sounders organization to have a player like Jordan join our organization. I remember when Chris Henderson first brought his name to my attention as we were identifying guys in the academy. For me, there was just something unique about his game."
On Morris' ability to develop with the Sounders, rather than elsewhere:
"It's not always the environment you get put in - it's what you can take out of that environment. I am very confident that his development will continue as he moves forward with our team here. Our league is very different than it was 10 years ago... I think the development in our country continues to grow."
On the excitement generated Morris' signing with the club:
"We as a club are extremely excited, and me as a coach am extremely happy, to have him on the team. We are all looking forward to this. It makes our team stronger. As our team gets stronger, it makes us better as an organization."
On where Morris fits in the lineup, given the strength of the attack:
"Having too many good players is never an issue. You can't have enough of them, at the end of the day. I think Jordan is a forward. He still has a useful exuberance that he could probably run on the flank for a little bit. How we are going to play this year will be determined more into the preseason. We're obviously leaning more towards three strikers or a narrower front than we have in the past to make use of the talent we have."
On Morris' potential:
"He has some qualities that you can't teach. When you find players who have that - he has an ability to shield the ball off defenders, he has really good balance and he has an ability to finish. When you have that, and the commitment and dedication to go with it, you can go a long way."
SOUNDERS FC SPORTING DIRECTOR CHRIS HENDERSON
On his initial impression of Morris:
"Initially, Jordan was at Eastside FC and then came over to our academy. He was one of those players that when you watched the game and the ball was loose, he was running full speed. He just wanted to get in front of the ball. It is something you look for in a player."