Favorite athlete: Alexis Sanchez
Favorite team: Philadelphia Union
Favorite memory competing in sports: Beating North Penn for the first time in six years last year.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: The most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me was my freshman year when I competed in track and field. One meet I was running in the 100m and right after I crossed the finish line, I tripped in front of a fair amount of onlookers.
Music on iPod: Alternative
Future plans: Play college soccer, other than that I don’t have future plans besides go with the flow.
Words to live by: “It is what it is.”
One goal before turning 30: I would like to visit Hawaii and other various destinations.
One thing people don’t know about me: I enjoy community service, especially when I’m helping others directly, especially kids with disabilities.
By Mary Jane Souder
Tarin Morris is an unmistakable talent on the soccer pitch.
Late in last year’s District One 3A opener against Haverford, it was the then Central Bucks West junior scoring the game winner. There’s nothing especially unusual about that, but it was the way he scored it that sets Morris apart.
“Tarin was playing a little deeper central midfield role last year, so he had a little more defensive responsibility,” coach Stefan Szygiel said. “There was maybe 8-10 minutes left. Dylan (Smith) made a save and distributed the ball to Tarin.
“Tarin was able to get on the ball, connect the pass and continue his run through the midfield. He got the ball back and scored the game winner. He came deep, he got the ball and then he covered the 80 yards to finish it. The play started with him and ended with him.”
It’s a sequence that effectively captures the impact Morris has at both ends of the field.
“He’s just as prone to pop up and score some goals or create some goals as he is to make a huge defensive play,” Szygiel said.
While that ability alone sets Morris apart, it’s much more than that.
“He’s obviously a very talented soccer player, but his character, his desire to improve himself and to support the players around him – he’s simultaneously a good leader and he’s a glue player for a team,” Szygiel said. “He’s a guy that can be in the trenches motivating anyone really, and I think that’s why he’s been successful for us because he can do both of those things.”
When it comes to leadership, the two-year captain’s style is understated.
“He’s not an over-the-top vocal leader,” Szygiel said. “He absolutely commands respect by the way he plays.
“I think the thing about him is he’s a two-way player. He’s just as willing to come in and defend and win a tackle as he is to go forward and score a goal.”
While Morris can pretty much do it all on the soccer field, it’s the same story off the field as well. An excellent student, he is a member of the National Honor Society, the Athletic Leadership Council and Student Council at CB West. He is a Boy Scout and is active in his church.
Community service isn’t just lip service for Morris. It’s part of his DNA, and he’s equally comfortable volunteering his time for spring cleaning at his church as he is serving as a counselor at Jacob’s Soccer Camp, a camp for disabled children at the Ukranian National Club, although he admits he derives special joy at Jacob’s Soccer Camp
“I’m mentoring and counseling kids who can’t really play high school because of their disability, but they love soccer,” Morris said. “I just love being able to help them learn new skills, play and have fun. That really touches me.”
If community service is in his DNA, so is soccer. Morris has been playing almost as long as he can remember, and although he played pretty much every sport – including football, basketball, golf and baseball, soccer has always been his passion.
“I was so anxious to play that my dad had me go out for a travel team that was a year older than I was,” Morris said. “It’s just always been soccer. All the other sports were on the side for fun.
Morris played for the 8U team at the Ukrainian National when he was just six.
“Actually, my brother also played, and he’s two years older than me,” he recalled. “I played with his team because they needed a player. I was like ‘Wow, I kind of like this.’ My dad and I ended up going to the tryouts.”
He continued to play up an age group until U12. His father – William ‘Skip’ Morris –played soccer and was his coach for the first six years.
Also having considerable influence was older brother Brandon, two years his senior.
“He helped me with the small stuff to the big stuff, letting me get to know the guys, which was big, and improving team chemistry and then also the big stuff on the field” Morris said.
The siblings played together two years at West.
“I remember I went down hard in a game - I forget who it was against, but (Brandon) was the first one over there helping me up,” Morris said. “He was just great to have on the team. It definitely helped me. I feel as if my brother wasn’t there I would have been timid, I would have been scared. He was always there to help me up when I got down and stuff like that.”
A four-year varsity starter, Morris has filled any role asked of him since he stepped on the field as a freshman.
“It’s pretty rare to have a guy that for four years is in the starting lineup and impacting the game even as a freshman,” Szygiel said. “His role as a freshman was to adjust to the varsity level in terms of speed and physicality.
“His role as a sophomore was to impact the game more, and as a junior we already put him in a leadership role. Now as a senior, he’s arguably our most important guy.”
What makes Morris so effective?
“He’s a smart player, he’s a fit player, he’s got a good build for a soccer player, and he’s talented,” Szygiel said. “If you look at all phases of the game – technical, tactical, physical and mental, he’s above average to very good in all those areas.”
This year, Morris is joined on the team by younger brother Jayden.
“It’s fun,” he said. “I’m literally passing down how my older brother helped me.”
Morris has had his share of personal highlights. Four years ago, he moved to Patriot FC out of Upper Makefield where he was part of three state cup squads and once advanced to the regional semifinals. Also near the top of the list is last year’s upset of North Penn, West’s first win over the perennial SOL power in six years.
As for his high school experience, Morris says he wouldn’t have wanted to miss it.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” he said. “I would never not want to play high school.
“This is the last go-round. I’ve got to leave it all on the field. I just have to have fun with it – compete, get wins.”
Morris is uncertain of his future plans, but it more than likely will include soccer.
“I’ve been talking to a couple of schools, some D-1, some D-3,” he said.
Academics comes first to the honors student.
“I’m looking at a variety of schools,” he said. “For example, Haverford – their soccer program is really good and their academics are insanely good, so that’s probably going to be the hardest school for me to get into.”
Lafayette and La Salle are also possibilities, but he is keeping his options open.
“I’m just trying to find the best fit for soccer and academics,” Morris said.
For now, Morris is focused on his final high school season. He recently had a hat trick in West’s 5-1 win over neighboring Central Bucks South, a win that upped the Bucks’ record to 6-0. Although Morris finds himself in a starring role in his team’s early season success, it’s a safe bet he’s still one of the last players to leave the field, making sure there’s no trash left after games. It’s the kind of thing that has earned Morris the respect of his peers.
“Whenever I talk, people are willing to listen,” he said. “I never demand anything from any of my teammates, but I do have high expectations of every player, both on and off the field.”
So far, Morris’ actions-speak-louder-than-words style has been a perfect fit for a West squad with its sights set high.