For months, rumors have been circulating about interest overseas in Joevin Jones’ services. There was more truth to them than many of us thought.
Jones has signed a pre-contract with 2. Bundesliga side SV Darmstadt 98, the club announced on Sunday. Jones will apparently finish out this season with the Sounders and join Darmstadt in January, likely on a free transfer. It had previously been reported that this was the final year of Jones’ contract. As long as the Sounders made a “bonafide” offer, they’d at least retain the 25-year-old’s rights if he were to return to MLS.
“It is a big step in my career, which I absolutely want to use,” Jones said in a team release.
Darmstadt is managed by German national team legend Torsten Frings, who also played parts of two seasons with Toronto FC. He was hired about midway through last season, taking over Darmstadt when they were at the bottom of the Bundesliga table. He was unable to keep them from relegation. Darmstadt had ended a 33-year run outside of the top flight when they earned promotion ahead of the 2015-16 season.
"We are very happy that Joevin has chosen the Lilies,” Frings said in a team release. “He was an absolute favorite of us, who we would rather have in our team today than tomorrow and will help us immediately after his arrival.”
Jones is in the midst of what is shaping up as a record-breaking season for a MLS defender. He currently has nine assists, as many as any player listed as a defender since Diego Gutierrez logged 13 for the Chicago Fire in 2000.
Although it will be near impossible to replace his production, Nouhou’s recent rise at least gives the Sounders a reasonable analog. The 20-year-old Cameroonian has been among the biggest surprises this year, logging 455 minutes, including his fourth start of the season on Saturday against the LA Galaxy.