Since his early teens, Jordan Morris wanted to play soccer at Stanford. One day, he told his mom the dream. She considered his grades, and voiced her disbelief. From that moment, something resolved within him.
Morris would work tirelessly to get those grades. He was going to Stanford.
He capped a glittering career at Mercer Island (Wash.) High School by being named the 2012 Gatorade State Player of the Year. He took care of business in the classroom, and earned a Stanford scholarship.
He finished his freshman year with six goals, seven assists and a first-team All-Pac-12 Conference selection. That same year, 2013, he was named the U.S. Developmental Academy Player of the Year.
This past May, Morris and his Cardinal teammates faced the U.S. national team in an exhibition during the pre-World Cup training camp at Stanford. Morris scored a goal in the game, and participated in five training sessions with the U.S.
Since breaking through at the under-20 national level in spring 2013, Morris has played for the U-21 and U-23 teams. On Aug. 28, national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann called him up for a Sept. 3 exhibition against the Czech Republic in Prague.
“It’s been a dream of mine to play for them,” Morris said. “It was definitely a surprise, but super exciting. It’s been a whirlwind.”
Morris didn’t play in the match, but his selection evinces that he factors into Klinsmann’s plans ahead of the next World Cup — as well as the next Olympics.
Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn praised Morris for the honor, and challenged him to use it as a springboard.
That included helping the Cardinal rebound from a tough 2-0 loss at Creighton in this season’s opener. Since then, Stanford has reeled off three wins in a row. Morris, who missed just one game through his U.S. participation, has a goal and an assist.
“Jordan is capable of creating and scoring from any situation,” Gunn said. “That’s what you want out of a striker. He’s got a lot of attributes, including a burst of pace that is world-class. He’s very intelligent, and willing to continuously develop. That’s why I believe he has such a bright future.”
Morris remains grounded, despite the swirl around him.
“That’s something I noticed his first day as a freshman,” said Eric Verso, a redshirt junior forward who pairs with Morris in Stanford’s attack. “He’s clearly a very talented player, but he’s one of the most quiet, respectful and humble kids. Even now, with all the attention he’s getting — deservedly so, he hasn’t let any of it get to his head.”
This winter, Morris will have a choice to make. He came up through the Seattle Sounders youth system, prolifically so, and rumors abound that he could sign a homegrown contract, thereby foregoing his final two years at Stanford.
Dons on TV: USF announced this week the debut of “Behind the Mask,” a 30-minute show on Comcast SportsNet California. Each episode contains seven segments focusing upon different elements of USF athletics.
“Hilltop Hoops: The Season,” chronicling the Dons men’s basketball team, debuts in October. There will be six episodes, 30 minutes each, which will air throughout the season. Both shows are produced and edited by Katie Morgan, USF’s director of creative video.