U.S. Soccer not pushing Jordan Morris to play in Germany, says Don Garber
BALTIMORE -- Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber said he is convinced that no U.S. Soccer staff member is attempting to convince forward Jordan Morris to sign overseas instead of with MLS.
Morris has long been a target of the Seattle Sounders, who have reportedly offered the former Stanford junior the richest homegrown contract in MLS history.
"We very much want to sign Jordan," Garber said. "I know that the Sounders are really focused on it. We're very hopeful of bringing him into the league, and representing this new generation of great American players."
Herzog was quoted last week as saying that it was the goal of he and U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann to "get as many players to Europe as possible," though he later told Fox Sports that he was misquoted.
When asked if Herzog and Klinsmann were meddling with the process, Garber indicated he didn't think this was the case.
"It's not really 'meddling,'" Garber said. "Our federation has a responsibility to ensure that players that are part of their program understand what their opportunities are."
Garber added that he had spoken to U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati and that Gulati had spoken to both Herzog and Klinsmann about the situation, and that Herzog had clarified his remarks.
"None of the federation staff is encouraging players to sign overseas and not with MLS," said Garber. "I think Andi was very clear about that."
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In the meantime, all Seattle can do is wait.
"Jordan is just going to go through his process," Seattle GM Garth Lagerwey told ESPN FC earlier this week. "He knows the extent of the opportunity that he has with us, and we hope that in the end he chooses to sign with the Seattle Sounders."
On the MLS SuperDraft broadcast on Thursday, Lagerwey told ESPN's Taylor Twellman that there were no concerns that Morris would only come off the bench with the team already playing forwards Obafemi Martins, Clint Dempsey and Nelson Valdez.
"If you recall, we had those guys miss I think 50 combined matches last year, in terms of injury, suspension, etc. And they're obviously all over 30," Lagerwey said.
"So we expect big performances from those guys, hopefully they play every week. If it turns out they don't, I think Jordan's a guy who can help us and give us a little bit of cover."