Columbus Crew SC just signed Aidan Morris to a Homegrown contract in Jan 2020
Columbus Crew homegrown midfielder Aidan Morris was a surprise entrant into the starting XI in the place of Darlington Nagbe who was sidelined by the Coronavirus COVID-19.
Back on January 14, 2020, when the Columbus Crew signed Aidan Morris to a Homegrown contract, he was a college standout. Morris played his freshman season at Indiana University last year, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors as well as being named a Third Team All-American. The talented midfielder from Fort Lauderdale, Florida had played for the Crew SC Academy from 2017-2019 on the U16/17 and U18/19 squads.
Now, Morris is the youngest player in history to start an MLS Cup final, at age 19 years, 27 days. Morris is just the second teenager to start in MLS Cup, after soccer superstar Landon Donovan, who was also 19 years old when he started MLS Cup 2001.
Morris replaced Darlington Nagbe who was out with COVID.
Morris said. “I was prepared from the beginning of the season from the staff and the players, it was a key message that was drilled into my head. It was always to be ready and that’s kind of the motto I lived by this year. Two days ago I got mentally prepared and physically prepared.”
Last month, on November 16, 2001, Morris celebrated his 19th birthday. On December 13, 2001, he became the youngest player to be involved in a goal when he recorded an assist on the first Columbus goal scored by Lucas Zelarayán. The previous was also Donovan, who scored in MLS Cup 2001.
“I believe in young players. I like to play young players. I played a ton of young players.”Caleb Porter, Columbus Crew SC head coach said after the MLS Cup win
“If a guy is good enough, you know, I’m going to give him the chance, but if he’s not, I’m not,” said Caleb Porter, Columbus Crew SC head coach. “You know, I’m lot a lover of playing young guys just to do it, but Aidan Morris is a winner, he’s a fighter, I knew it. I’ve seen him in training. When I knew Darlington was out, he was the guy that was going to go in. He’s a homegrown kid and I thought he was unbelievable today.”
Columbus Crew SC defender and captain Jonathan Mensah referred to Aidan Morris in the press conference following the MLS Cup match as “an incredible young man. We all know what he brings to this team, and the whole U.S. saw it today. It’s going to keep getting better from here.”
As a youth player, Morris helped his Crew SC Academy squad finish third at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-19 tournament for the 2017-2018 season. In all, Morris made 42 appearances (39 starts) for Crew SC Academy, scoring eight goals.
At 5’10 and weighing in at 158 pounds, Crew’s youngest starter in their victorious match against Seattle is just at the start of his professional career and is definitely a player to watch.
“I’m just a kid kicking a ball around for the most part,” Morris told media after the game. “It’s just another game, just having fun. I’m alongside the guys I love playing with, amazing teammates. It goes back to my staff and my teammates. They make it enjoyable every day, so coming into training, especially during tough times like this year. It’s always enjoyable. I never go a day without loving it.”
Nagbe was listed as “medically not cleared to play” on the injury report released by Crew last Thursday night. This is a new designation created specifically for this season due to potential coronavirus cases that made players unavailable. Nagbe was schedule to speak with the media in advance of the match but was scratched off the availability list after being confirmed positive for COVID-19.
Source: Press Release(s)