It’s been since Gyasi Zardes since the Columbus Crew has had a player regularly called up to the United States Men’s National Team. But another Black & Gold player is getting a chance to show that he should be a regular contributor for his country for the first time.
On Wednesday, the United States Men’s National Team announced its roster for the team’s January camp, and Columbus midfielder Aidan Morris was included among the 24-man team. Morris will join a number of other Major League Soccer players such as FC Cincinnati’s Brandon Vazquez, Sean Johnson, LAFC’s Aaron Long, Nashville SC’s Walker Zimmerman and FC Dallas’ Paul Arriola and Jesus Ferreira for the camp which will take place in Carson, California and feature friendlies against Serbia and Colombia.
Morris is set to enter his fourth professional season with the Crew after signing with the team as a Homegrown product ahead of the 2020 campaign. Morris, who has made 37 MLS appearances with 21 starts and started an MLS Cup Final for the club, is set to take on a bigger role with the Black & Gold this year alongside midfielder Darlington Nagbe following the departure of Artur to the Houston Dynamo this offseason.
After signing his first professional contract with Columbus in 2020, Morris worked his way into a role with the team as a rookie. He made his professional debut that July during the MLS is Back Tournament following the COVID-19 restart to the season. In total, Morris played in 10 games for the Crew in his first year, making two starts. He did not appear in the postseason until Nagbe was ruled out of the MLS Cup Final. Morris became the youngest player in MLS history to start the league’s championship game, helping the Black & Gold to a 3-0 victory against the Seattle Sounders and the club’s second MLS Cup championship with his first career assist.
Morris did not get to build on the momentum of starting and playing well in the final the next year. After starting in the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League, Morris had to leave the second leg with an ACL injury that cost him the entirety of his second professional season.
Returning healthy in 2021, Morris was a key contributor for a Columbus team that narrowly missed returning to the MLS Cup playoffs. The midfielder played a career-high 27 games, starting 20, and recorded his first regular season assist. Morris played a career-high 1,811 minutes last season, the ninth-most of any Crew player.
Prior to his time with the first team, Morris played one season at Indiana University where he was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year as he made 22 appearances, scoring twice and contributing a team leading eight assists. Morris also played for the Crew Under-16/17 and U-18/19 teams and was part of the U-19 team that finished third in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Tournament, appearing 42 times and scoring eight goals in his academy career.
Morris was previously a part of the USMNT fitness camp this offseason with a group largely made up of Under-23 players. This will be the midfielder’s first opportunity with the senior U.S. National Team.
This January camp will be led by U.S. interim head coach Anthony Hudson. The Americans will play Serbia at Banc of California Stadium on Jan. 25, and Colombia at Carson’s Dignity Health Sports Park on Jan. 28.