He's done it all in Major League Soccer, and now was the time for a move abroad. The 26-year-old United States men's national team player Jordan Morris is now at Swansea City in the Championship with aspirations of helping the Swans earn promotion to the Premier League next season. He joined the Welsh side on a six-month loan last week and with him he brings a fine goal scoring record and experience winning two MLS Cups to a club desperate to return to the top flight.
Swansea, coached by former England youth coach Steve Cooper, sit in third place in the table. They seem to be a near lock to, at worst, enter into the promotion playoff, and a 13-7-4 record has them sitting in a good spot. They trail second place Watford by a point, but have two games in hand. Brentford, Reading and Bournemouth are all right on their heels. If they finish in the top two spots, they automatically get promoted to the Premier League.
For Morris, who had a trial at Werder Bremen in 2016, this was the time to make the leap.
"I have always made the decision about what would be the best for myself and my career," Morris told CBS Sports. "I know some people thought at the beginning of my career I should have started in Germany. But I felt what was going to be best for myself and my development was going to Seattle and pushing myself, and challenging for championships and stuff like that there. I felt like I was able to accomplish a lot in Seattle … I felt like my development as a player was really, really good. I absolutely loved it, to play for your hometown team and win a couple championships for them. It was such a special and unique experience, and I'm super grateful for it."
Morris credits his time in MLS for much of his progression. In 129 matches, he scored 42 goals. He also won an NCAA title at Stanford and scored the winning goal in the 2017 Gold Cup final.
"I just don't think I would be the player I am today if I hadn't started my career there, so I'm so happy with that decision. I just felt ready for a new challenge and a new experience." he said.
"Swansea I feel like is the perfect fit., The manager called me, and from that first phone call, I just really wanted to get here and get to this team and be part of this great club."
Morris said he talked with U.S. men's national team coach Gregg Berhalter about a potential move, while also having numerous players reach out to him. Morris said that seeing the success of Americans in Europe, including Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and Gio Reyna, has shown him what can be accomplished across the Atlantic.
"It's obviously a really exciting time for U.S. Soccer and the young generation that's coming up. So for sure, watching them, that was a big inspiration as well," he said.
"It's something I felt I was ready for and excited for."
While Morris won't get to experience a packed Liberty stadium for the time being, he has heard plenty about the club, did his research and is ready to roll. The club's controlling stake is owned by a group of American businessmen, including USMNT legend Landon Donovan.
"It's a really special club. It's a family club," Morris said.
"It's been great. Everyone has been super welcoming. It's obviously different during these times. There are no fans in the stadium, and I just hear about how great the atmosphere is here. I was able to watch a documentary on the team before coming, and it was just so clear how much this team means to the people of Swansea and to this area."
As for now, Morris just wants to jump in and boost an attack that could use it. Swansea have 29 goals in 24 games, but they've been led by the league's best defense, conceding 13 goals. He's hoping he can deliver and earn a permanent move, but he is focusing on the short term.
"There's a lot of options. I think playing in the Premier League would be a dream come true. Being with this team, as well, will be absolutely amazing. There are a lot of options, a lot up in the air a bit, but I try not to think about that too much because then I think you put these different pressures on yourself that aren't necessary," Morris said.
Swansea face Brentford at 2 p.m. on Tuesday and Rotherham on Saturday.
"You never know what the future holds. Right now, I am really excited for this challenge," Morris said.