- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2021

SEATTLE (AP) - U.S. national team forward Jordan Morris was loaned Friday from Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders to the Welsh club Swansea of the second-tier English Championship for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.

Morris left the U.S. camp earlier this week in Florida as the final stage of his move to Swansea. Morris joins a Swans side that is in second place and seven points behind Norwich, which recalled American forward Sebastian Soto on Thursday from the Dutch club Telstar. The top two clubs at the end of the season receive automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Seattle general manager Garth Lagerwey said there were at least a half-dozen clubs in three European countries looking to bring Morris overseas during the current transfer window. The decision to go with Swansea was in part due to relationships between the clubs. Peter Tomozawa is Seattle’s president of business operations and holds an ownership stake in Swansea.

“We felt like it was really a good situation where Jordan was going to another familiar setup, and one where we could keep really close tabs on him,” Lagerwey said. “So it felt comfortable and familiar. I think over the course of Jordan’s career he’s done very well in situations where it’s familiar and he feels like he is supported.”

Swansea’s next league match is against third-place Brentford next Wednesday. Swansea was last in the Premier League during 2017-18 and 10th in the League Championship last season.

The unknown now is whether this is a short-term opportunity or the start of a long-term move overseas for Morris. Lagerwey said there is a significant buy option for Swansea at the conclusion of the loan - believed to be at least $7 million - that would be the highest yield in Seattle’s history.

If Swansea doesn’t choose to exercise the buy option, Lagerwey estimated the earliest the Sounders could see Morris back in Seattle would likely be mid-to-late summer.

Morris has 41 goals 23 assists in 121 appearances for the Sounders since signing with the club in 2016. At the time, Morris turned down offers to play in Germany to start his professional career with his hometown club.

“Part of the reason he came to us, instead of Werder Bremen back in 2016 was the promise that this would be a relationship and this would be something where he worked for our best interest that we work for his,” Lagerwey said. “So there really wasn’t any hesitation on our part when he said that this was what he wanted to do.”

In a post on Twitter, Morris thanked the Sounders for five seasons duing which the club won two MLS Cup titles.

“We will see what the future holds, but I will always be a Sounder and I can’t wait to support from afar!” Morris wrote.

Morris was the MLS newcomer of the year in 2016. He missed the 2018 season following a torn right ACL, but returned to be the league’s comeback player of the year in 2019. Last season, Morris was an MLS Best XI selection for the first time in his career and an MVP finalist after having 10 goals and eight assists in 18 regular season matches.

“This particular move gives him a chance to showcase his skillset and opens a number options for his future,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. “On top of that, I am excited to watch him play for Swansea.”


More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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