Jones Finding His Form In Chicago

Jones Finding His Form In Chicago
Chicago Fire defender/midfielder Joevin Jones (3) celebrates after scording a goal against Toronto FC at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL on Saturday, April 04, 2015 (Sean King for Chicago Fire Confidential)

When the Fire closed the book on their 2014 season supporters knew wholesale changes were in store for a team that struggled to a 6-10-18 finish. The departure of familiar names like Bakary Soumare, Gonzalo Segares, and Steven Kinney gave way to new players coming in, many of whom were unfamiliar to most Fire fans, including Trinidad and Tobago's Joevin Jones.

Jones, a 23-year old who went pro at the age of 19, and saw his first cap for his home country at age 20 , has shown his versatility early on for the Fire, spending time at both left back, as well as in the midfield. “I've been focusing on training hard, and I have certain goals I've set for this season,” Jones told Fire Confidential after training on Tuesday. “I've been settling in okay so far, I just want to keep playing hard, and working hard in training....I want to have a certain amount of assists and goals this season, and I want to be the Best Newcomer to the league this year.”

That's certainly a tall task, given newcomers to the league like David Villa, Kaka, and eventually Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, but Jones' work towards those goals is paying dividends regardless. In his first five games, he has already registered on the stat sheet for the Fire, earning an assist on Harry Shipp's first goal of the season against San Jose, and scoring a goal worthy of a MLS Goal of the Week nomination in Chicago's 3-2 win against Toronto FC.

“I had trials at Toronto FC and Colorado (before), that did not go through...I've been trying to come to MLS for three or four years now. It's a pleasure for me to be here, finally. ”

Part of Jones' success can be attributed to what seems to be a smooth transition to MLS from Trinidad & Tobago's Pro League. While every foreign player seems to handle a move to MLS differently, Jones' success comes not only from his pedigree as a leader during his time at W Connection, but also as son to Kelvin Jones, who also played for Trinidad and Tobago's national team and was part of T&T's “Strike Squad,” a team that faced the USMNT in a November 1989 World Cup Qualifier that served to unite his home country.

“I think football is just in our blood. I always wanted to follow my father's footsteps and make my family proud, to reach on the big stage......I'm happy to be here in Chicago.”

Frank Yallop has already given Jones praise numerous times early on in the season, and sees him as an integral part of the Fire's push for success in 2015. “I like him,” Yallop told reporters last week when asked about Jones' play. “His teammates enjoy the way he plays and he slowly but surely is going more and more into the games for longer spells. I think JJ is settled in, and is starting to really pick up his game.”

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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  • Nice piece. Thanks for getting the interview with Jones.

    I feel that he's been a real find for the Fire, so props to the scouts for getting him even though he didn't catch on at Toronto or Colorado. It's great to see the Fire with a higher proportion of young, up-and-coming guys on the roster, and it's good to hear that Jones has had the ambition to get to MLS. And there's nothing fans would like more than to see him get best newcomer to the league, especially if the team itself wins accolades. (But someone needs to explain the concepts of "blind draw" and single entity to him so he doesn't get angsty when a former England midfielder takes the prize regardless of on-field performance).

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Thanks Modi, hoping to get some more content like this on the site this season to compliment Guillermo's exhaustive work. :)

    I agree, JJ has been my favorite pick up of the offseason up to this point. He's getting better each game, and is shaping up to hopefully have a great season.

  • In reply to Modibo:

    Agree on Jones. He's been very good getting forward from either left back or left mid. I would like to see how he reacts to being tested a bit more defensively. He had some issues against Ishizaki against LA but hasn't been challenged much the other way since then. TFC was busy attacking on the Fire's right side (where teams will continue to go if Gehrig is there.)

  • Don't know what ATT Uverse has against soccer, only thing I can figure out, is they're lead by a bunch of thieves, whores, and idiots.
    Instead showing the US mens game fed by Fox 1, they are showing replays of world champion darts. This has already happened several times in the past week or so. I have already complained about this before but never received any reply back. So if anyone is thinking about switching to Uverse, better think twice about it, they treat their customers like crap and I have lost count of how many drop outs I had in the past several months. Can't wait until my contract expires. I cannot recommend Uverse to anyone.

  • In reply to lonecoyote:

    http://worldsoccertalk.com/2015/04/18/fox-sports-1-and-at-soccer-fans-get-screwed/

  • Following up on a twitter exchange from last night:

    nyc-phi tie

    Current record, not including last night, stands at a blistering 17-38.

  • This weekend's picks:

    nyrb-sj nyrb
    dc-hou tie
    clb-orl tie
    dal-tor tor
    col-sea sea
    rsl-van van
    la-skc la
    phi-ne tie

    17-38 overall, not including Thursday night game.

  • My weekend picks

    New York RB over San Jose
    DC and Houston draw
    Columbus and Orlando draw
    FCD and TFC draw
    Seattle over Colorado
    RSL over Vancouver
    LAG over Sporting KC
    New England over Philadelphia
    New York City and Portland draw
    20-35 so far

  • This season is sooooo fun! 3 weeks off is too much soccer, I can't take all the activity and games and excitement! Way to go MLS!

  • Matt Fondy landed in USL's Louisville, in case anyone misses him.

    =)

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