Javier Morales spoke to a gathered crowd of press today, laying out his reasons for leaving: First, contract issues — particularly with a guaranteed option renewal; second, to make clear that he hadn’t been offered a new contract until potentially yesterday.
I feel nervous. It’s not my thing.
Thanks everyone for coming here today, giving me the opportunity to tell you what’s going on. I want to be clear, and this is really important to me.
This is not to talk badly about anyone. RSL is my home, even if we are leaving now. After 10 years playing for this team, I believe that I have to be honest with the fans and the people.
After I announced I was leaving the club a week ago, there were a lot of rumors about why. I’m here to clarify why I’m leaving.
I’m not retiring. Because in my opinion, I have a couple years left to play.
I’m not leaving because I’ve signed with another time. I’m not leaving because of money. I’m leaving — and the most important thing — is I’m not leaving because I want to. It was a surprise to me — because this year if I start 24 games in the regular season, my contract next year in 2017 will be grand.
The last game of the season against Seattle ... do you know how many games I played before that game? 23. I didn’t start that game.
I assumed the club was not picking up my option for 2017, even though I was more clear when three days later, in the playoff game against Galaxy, I was back in the starting eleven. By not starting that game,
I was thinking they will offer me a different contract or something like that. but that never happened. In the meeting, I was informed that they weren’t picking up my option for the next year because they were looking to go in a different way.
I asked them, “I am free to go?” And they answered yes.
I’m sure that it’s not because of money or the contract. Because I’m not blind. I’m 37 next year, and maybe they can’t pay me that contract. I understand. But if they ask me to stay or to find a way to stay here, believe me — today, I wouldn’t be here talking to you.
After I left the room, I felt empty inside. There was a question in my mind. Was it worth being ten years here playing for this club and have to go like this? I didn’t have the answer. After I posted on social media a week ago, everything changed. The support and the love that I got from the people was amazing to me. I never expected something like that. Never. That is when everything changed. That question in my mind disappeared. I was sure — 100 percent — that it was to be here.
If you I am here today, it’s because I always played for the love of the game or the love of the people. I feel blessed today. I think got that back from you.
The last thing I want to say is thank you to Jason Kreis, the guys who believe in myself and bring me here, even when nobody does. to Dave Checketts, the first owner when I got here. Thanks to Dell Loy Hansen for giving me the opportunity to be here and sign my last contract with RSL. To every single people who work for the organization — (names). To my teammates for making me a better player. And thanks to my family. that is all.
RSL is still my home. But to be honest, I announce that I was leaving the club a week ago. Since that, nobody called either me or my agent to say something about it.
I never had a chance to talk about something else. So that is weird for me, because that never happened until yesterday I announced the press conference. Somebody called my agent after that — I don’t know why.
That was a conversation with my agent, but that was weird for me that it was a week later and after I announced it.
To be honest, I didn’t want to hear much about (another offer).
People showed me their love — it was too much. It was something I never expected. That was one of the best things in my life.
Even now, I’m leaving — but we have a life here. My family, my friends; my little ones, they’re going to school. We have friends that support us, so that is great. I hope and I think that in the future, I will come back here.
Maybe, as a fan, going to drink some beer and watch the team, yeah — because I feel grateful with this place, with the community, with everything.
I don’t want to talk badly about anyone; this club is my club, this city is my city. I just want to say the truth about what happened, because what I read and hear is that people said it was my choice. It wasn’t. People are saying it’s because you’re retiring; I’m not. People were saying it was because I was going to another team — I don’t have another team, I have to play with my son in the backyard.
It’s too soon to say something (about playing in MLS).
I wish then to leave the club with a game, on the field — wearing your jersey on the field and saying goodbye to the fans. I think from my perspective, Kyle and Nick deserve something like that.
There was a text message, and that’s it.
(On the fans) What I can tell them — thank you for everything. They were great with me. During this year, they were unbelievable. I broke my ankle on this field. Four months there, they were cheering with me.
I didn’t think about the games. I just think I was happy in that moment, because I thought I was going to retire here. After you sign a three-year contract with this team, at my age, I was so happy. I told my wife, my kids, that one day, I would retire here. This is sports. I don’t want to make this personal. That can happen all the time. I want to be sure that if that happened, you have to say the truth — why. I was so happy because I thought I was going to retire in an RSL jersey.
(Would you come back?)
Listen — you know, the tough part of this is telling to your kids that you’re leaving. That they have to leave their school, leave their friends after 10 years. After that, it’s tough to come back, because to be honest, I don’t think that is going to happen.
Right now, I don’t have anything.
I have a lot of good memories. The championship, that was one of the best, CONCACAF in 2011 — even if you don’t get it — that was a great memory. When I came back from my injury, that was another one. To be honest, last Thursday. Even if that was sad news for me to say to the people, even what I get back, that’s what I’m going to tell my kids when they are older. That was another good thing I’m going to take with me from here.
Everything I take from you is the most important thing. This is not about money, this is not about business. This is about soccer, football. That is the love of the game.
This article will be updated.