Joevin Jones has now played 27 games — including playoffs — with Brian Schmetzer as the Seattle Sounders head coach. In those games, Jones has 10 assists. It’s a rather remarkable number when you consider only two defenders in MLS history have tallied more than that in a single regular season and both of those instances were in 2000, when assists were given out like candy at Halloween.
It’s no wonder that Jones’ face absolutely lights up when asked for his thoughts on Schmetzer.
“I love Brian,” Jones said in a recent interview with Steve Zakuani. “As a coach, he talks to players. He tries to talk to you, make you smile, see how your family is going. On the field, he gives me a lot of confidence.”
For all his exploits, Jones has been a bit of a mystery off the field since joining the Sounders. The dynamic left back rarely gives interviews and is relatively soft spoken when he does. He opened up a bit in his talk with Zakuani, though, even talking about his constantly changing hair, a subject he’s pointedly refused to discuss in the past.
“I get bored,” Jones said. “If I see something I just want to try it. I don’t care if it looks good.”
Jones also shared how he was a multi-sport athlete growing up and even thinks he could have gone on to be a professional cricket player.
The Sounders are surely counting their blessings he didn’t choose that career path.
After a bit of an inconsistent start last year — he was benched following an early season loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps and seemed to struggle to fully regain Sigi Schmid’s confidence — Jones settled in after Schmetzer was installed as coach.
His trajectory really started to take off in the playoffs where he had three assists and buried an absolutely ice-cold penalty in the shootout that ultimately gave the Sounders their first MLS Cup.
Once considered a bit of a liability on defense, he’s quietly improved his two-way play. Schmetzer has only been too happy to heap praise upon Jones, especially after his second two-assist match of the season in Saturday’s 3-3 tie with the New England Revolution.
“Joevin Jones has been really good for us the entire time he's been here,” Schmetzer said following Monday’s training session. “I think he's the best left back in the league. I think he's multi-faceted. If you think you can maybe pin him back and push guys on his side and push him back? Well, he's fast enough in transition that he will beat your guy back up the field. You can say he's a very good dribbler and you stick a guy out there and he'll find the right pass. He's got a lot of things to his game.”
It appears as though Schmetzer is exactly the coach Jones needed to unearth all of that.