TUKWILA, Wash.—Believe it or not, the Seattle Sounders made moves this offseason that didn’t involve Jordan Morris.
It may not seem like it given the influx of hype and media fanfare that followed last week’s announcement that Seattle officially signed the country’s most sought-after amateur player to a record-breaking Homegrown contract, but it’s true!
New left back Joevin Jones qualifies. The 24-year-old – acquired via trade earlier this month from the Chicago Fire – carries under-the-radar expectations to challenge for a spot in the starting XI when Seattle open the regular season at home against Sporting Kansas City on March 6.
At Seattle’s Monday training session at Starfire Soccer Complex, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid praised the Trinidad & Tobago international's ability to get into the attack, which should fit the mold of what the team is looking for in its wide defenders.
“He’s very good going forward. Offensively he’s very good,” Schmid said. “He’s got good pace, which is always a nice thing. He’s even played some games as a left winger as well … We want our outside backs to be able to get forward. He’s somebody that can add that to our game.”
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Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei cited similar takeaways from his initial impressions training with Jones.
“Quick,” Frei said. “He’s a quick guy. We always have to integrate [new players] into the squad, work on communication. Who knows how we’re going to line up this year formation-wise? So in terms of that, we all have to kind of figure out how we want to play. But, like I said, first impression is that he’s very athletic and good with the ball at his feet.”
Jones met with the media for the first time as a Sounder on Monday, discussing his integration into a new locker room and unfamiliar surroundings.
“My first impression was good, coming into the team and seeing the love between the guys and the staff,” Jones said. “I’m just excited to get on the field and play right now … I’ve never come here to play [before] but I’ve heard about the crowds and it will be a wonderful opportunity to play here this season.”
The Sounders also have a veteran addition in their midfield in the form of Michael Farfan, a first round pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft (by the Philadelphia Union) who was an MLS All-Star a year later.
Whether the 27-year-old commands first-team minutes remains to be seen, but Farfan figures to provide necessary depth as the Sounders prepare for the rigorous demands of the CONCACAF Champions League and the US Open Cup in addition to their MLS schedule.
“Everyone throughout the league knows Seattle has the best fans,” Farfan said. “To come to this environment, even for a training session, it’s an awesome experience. It’s a dream for everyone to be in this kind of situation.”