Nashville Soccer Club has acquired Major League Soccer midfielder Derrick Jones from the Philadelphia Union for $175,000 in General Allocation Money. The transfer will process with MLS on January 1, 2020. Until then, Jones will spend the remainder of the 2019 season on loan with Nashville SC in the USL Championship.
“This deal allows us to acquire a young, talented player early in our build up to MLS that gives our coaching staff an opportunity to get to know Derrick and his game before we take the field in MLS,”says Mike Jacobs, General Manager of Nashville SC. “We are also continuing to work diligently on trades that add pieces to our senior roster in 2020.”
At 6’4″, Jones is a physically imposing midfielder. He can function either as a holding midfielder (#6) or in more of a box-to-box role (#8). A product of the Philadelphia Union academy, he’s spent time in USL and MLS this season, making two appearances for the Union and starting three times for Bethlehem Steel. He’s also a US youth international, debuting for the U23’s this past March.
“Derrick epitomizes the modern central midfield player,” said Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith. “He’s a terrific athlete, and covers ground immensely well. He is technically very efficient, creative, chips in with a few goals and is very competitive. The fact that he’s 22 years old means that we have plenty of time to be with Derrick and to really mature his game. He’s got all of the qualities you want to see, but it’s going to be that experience, that know-how, and probably more than anything, those opportunities, that are going to make the difference for Derrick.”
Jones should make an instant impact in Nashville’s midfield. He’s positionally flexible, able to function as a 6, 8, and even a 10. In the 3-5-2 system Nashville has been using, I expect he’ll slot in for either Reed or LaGrassa as one of the 8s.
A midfield trio of Akinyode, Jones and LaGrassa is a formidable prospect. It would let Jones roam box-to-box and let LaGrassa push forward and function as more of a playmaker.
He’s a capable passer of the ball, but he excels at winning back possession and breaking up plays. He’s scored 10 goals in 54 USL appearances, and should be able to provide service to Nashville’s front line.
The third MLS signing for Nashville, Smith and Jacobs will hope to get him integrated quickly into the squad and getting into form for a playoff push this year and a strong MLS debut season in 2020.