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06 / 02

Morse Enjoying Playing In Hometown

WRITTEN BY: Jeremy Sampson
PUBLISHED ON: June 02, 2019

By: Joshua Chung

EAST LANSING – Mich. Zoe Morse, 21, has returned back home to East Lansing, Michigan to play for her hometown team and help make a strong tournament run this season with Lansing United.


With an impressive resume of starting as a defender all three years at the University of Virginia and gaining experience on the U-17, U-18, AND U-20 Women’s National Team, Morse is excited to showcase her talent to her hometown fans.


“I am so excited to be back in Lansing playing,” said Morse. “Playing in your hometown is such a unique, exhilarating experience. It puts a smile on my face without fail and motivates me to be a better person and player.”


Morse went to East Lansing High School and during her time she played for the Michigan Hawks club prior to her arrival with United, where she earned NSCAA All-American honors in 2015 and 2016. Morse helped lead the team to winning the ECNL National Championship back in 2015 and finished as National Runner-Up in 2016.


Throughout her time at UVA, Morse has played a total of 63 games, while starting 62 of them. Morse has also logged over 4900 minutes of gadme time and has the most minutes of any non-senior for UVA during her freshman year.


Morse explained that the decision to attend UVA over school’s in the midwest was because the school presented a great opportunity for her that provided a ton of resources and support to help her career move forward.


“The university has an incredible combination of high level academics and athletics, along with some pretty incredible people,” said Morse. “I have absolutely loved my time at UVA. It’s made me a better person and player, and I am so excited for my senior season!”


Morse said there’s a lot of work to be done this season and knows the team is competing in a very competitive league this summer. However, she can already feel the desire to win within our team.


“What is more special though is the motivation on the individual level to improve our game,” said Morse. “Each of us wants to be a better player at the end of this summer, and this shines through in the energy at practice and the time taken after practice to hone our technical skills.”


Head coach Jason Crist said from a composure standpoint with Morse’s experience with the USWNT, her presences has become an easy anchor for the team when things get stressful on the field.


“Off the field she just has a way about her that is learned through experience at such a high level,” said Crist. “She’s a great piece, a great athlete for us, and brings a lot of experience and composure to our group.”


Lizzy Sieracki, a teammate at Virginia joined Zoe in Lansing this summer, said Morse is the kind of person you can always trust to have your back, both on and off the field.


“She (Morse) is always working hard and her enthusiasm for soccer instinctively rubs off other people,” said Sieracki. “She leads by example off the field, in every training and even during individual workouts. She is also a vocal presence at UVA and Lansing United, providing structure and support from the back line.”


Morse has learned that the main difference between playing on the National team, the college level, and United is the length of time the team’s get to train with one another.


At UVA the team is with each other everyday, from taking classes together to living together. While on the National level each player gets about a week to acclimate to each other’s playing style and work together for a style of play for everyone.


Morse started three games at center back for USA in 2018 and is well known for scoring the game-winning penalty kick in the CONCACAAF semi-final shootout against Haiti, where the U.S. clinched their World Cup berth.


Morse said at Lansing United, some of the players played together at a young age and have not seen each other for a while, while some of the players have never met each other. The team comes together for two months and put their style of play together.


“Each environment I’ve had the opportunity to play in has been exciting and a great experience,” said Morse. “That’s what I lover so much about the game of soccer.”


Crist’s advice to Morse is to just play her game that she thrives best at. The team has used her in different roles already and has shown to be a success so far early in the season.


“We’ve used her in the backline where she’s most comfortable and actually used her as a holding midfielder in training as well, anticipating that we might have to do that during the season,” said Crist. “You know just ask her to do what she does normally and have her presences have a calming effect on everybody.”


Sieracki said that Morse is constantly advising, but also is not afraid to ask for help from others.


“No matter how many times you mess up at a practice, Zoe is always pushing you to get the next rep right,” said Sieracki. “Not focusing on the past and getting down, but rather trying to impact the game in every way you can moving forward. Her advice is very supportive and is always aimed at pushing someone to the next level.”


Morse’s advice to anyone striving to be successful in this sport is to keep reminding themselves that world of sports is getting flashier and flashier with time, but to start true to their game.


“Stay true to your work ethic and what motivates you,” said Morse. “Nobody can take your work rate and grit away from you. I am still navigating my development as a player, but I know one thing I can always rely on is my grit.”


Sieracki said Lansing United can go as far as we want it to go. They have a great group of girls that shine technically and tactically.


“It falls on us to take opportunities and advantages we are given to improve,” said Sieracki. “Zoe can be a big key to our success. She provides a consistent, solid foundation that the team can grow off of.”


After Morse finishes school, she plays on pursuing her dream of playing professionally and continuing to improve on her game.


“Once I am done playing, I hope to go to medical school and work in environmental health,” said Morse. “My time at UVA has opened my eyes to the world and I hope to be able to leave this world better than I found it.”