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Aidan Morris gets emotional Columbus Crew send-off ahead of European move

The USMNT midfielder is expected to join English side Middlesbrough this summer, leaving the team he helped to two MLS Cup triumphs.

Aidan Morris gets emotional farewell ahead of European move
Kyle RobertsonUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Europe-bound Aidan Morris was given an emotional send-off by the Columbus Crew support on Saturday, receiving a standing ovation after being substituted in a 4-0 win over Sporting Kansas City.

After joining the Crew as a 15-year-old Morris, now 22, has spent his entire professional career with the team, receiving call-ups for the senior US national team in recent seasons. He is set to sign for English Championship side Middlesbrough, where he will be coached by former Manchester United and England midfielder Michael Carrick.

Morris was withdrawn on the hourmark against Sporting KC and gave a tearful goodbye to the fans that have watched him develop into one of MLS’ top midfielders.

My heart is black and gold,” Morris said in the postgame press conference. “They’ve had my back since I was 18, since I first started. I’ve been through thick and thin here. My coming back, fighting for starting positions. It’s been a long journey, and this club means so much to me, and Wilfried [Nancy] and his staff mean so much to me.”

Aidan Morris’ incredible Crew career

Morris may still be 22, but he’s managed to pack a lot into his time with the Columbus Crew. He signed his first professional deal with the club in January 2020 and made his debut in July, coming on in a 4-0 drubbing of Ohio rivals FC Cincinnati. He was gradually introduced into the first team over the course of the 2020 campaign but, thanks to an injury to Darlington Nagbe, Morris started and starred for Columbus in the 2020 MLS Cup, becoming the youngest player to start in the league’s showpiece final. The Crew won 2-0, with Morris providing a crucial assist in the history victory.

His rapid progress was put on ice early in 2021, however, when he suffered a serious ACL injury that kept him out for the entirety of the following MLS campaign.

After that setback he returned to the team and established himself as a centrepiece of the Crew side, forming a dynamic double-act with Nagbe in the middle of midfield. The pair would be crucial for the success enjoyed under new head coach Wilfried Nancy in 2023, ending with a second MLS Cup triumph for Morris.

At the start of 2024 AS USA spoke to Aidan Morris as the Crew prepared to defend their MLS Cup crown. He said he was looking forward to the prospect, saying “You get everyone’s best because they want to beat the champ.” Once again, he will not get the chance to defend his MLS Cup title, but there are plenty more challenges on the horizon for the young star.