As two new homegrown players arrive, the Seattle Sounders have let another go. The USL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies announced the addition of Darwin Jones to their roster. Jones joined Seattle before the 2015 season after a complicated but successful three years in college and PDL play.
When Jones suits up for the Rowdies it will be the first time he does so for a side not based in Washington. The forward spent his youth career playing for Washington Premier and the Sounders academy before beginning his collegiate career at Des Moines-based Highline College in 2011. The University of Washington noticed his impressive freshman year, and after some transfer shenanigans Jones put in two seasons with the Huskies.
Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell sees Jones continuing in a winger or withdrawn striker role, and praised him as “quick and decisive, bringing plenty of quality” to the Rowdies’ attack.
Jones got a majority of his minutes within the Sounders organization with Sounders FC 2, where he scored 12 goals across 30 starts with the USL squad. Before the start of the 2016 season there were reasons to be hopeful that Jones could build off of his nine 2015 appearances with the first team. But after looking solid on the wing in preseason, the 24-year-old only managed to log 22 regular season minutes.
After a slide further down the depth chart, a move away from Seattle makes a lot of sense for the forward. There is no reason to believe that the Seattle product won’t be an excellent USL attacker for his new team, and a consistent starting job could do wonders for his development. At 24 Jones still has time to develop into a good MLS talent, and maybe he will ply his trade in Seattle again. For now, though, his move to a new USL club is good for the player and the Sounders.