TUKWILA, Wash. — The smile on Joevin Jones’ face seemed a mile-wide as he joined his Seattle Sounders teammates in training today, before they left to catch a flight to Dallas. Like a college student who left school to spend a semester abroad, it was apparent he was happy to be home among familiar faces and surroundings.
After about 18 months playing for SV Darmstadt 98 in the 2. Bundesliga, Jones signed a deal to rejoin the Sounders in a transfer deadline day deal.
“I just flew in last night and it was a long day yesterday,” Jones said. “I’m happy to be with my teammates again.”
When Jones initially left the Sounders at the end of the 2017 season to sign for the second division German side, he said part of the reason was to test himself in Europe.
“As a kid, I always wanted to play in Europe, and when I got the chance to go I took it,” he said. “Things didn’t go well at the end [with] change of coaches and stuff like that.”
Former Toronto FC player — and German international — Torsten Frings was the coach who brought Jones to Germany, but he was let go before Jones even made an appearance. Jones had a strong season under Frings’ replacement Dirk Schuster, but that coach was fired in February. Around the same time, Jones lost his starting spot. That’s when Jones started looking seriously at returning to the Sounders.
Though it was only one training session, head coach Brian Schmetzer was pleased to have Jones back.
“He looked pretty good out there,” Schmetzer said. “He’s clean on the ball, keeps possession, he runs fast but it doesn’t look like he’s running fast.”
Schmetzer said that Jones will allow the Sounders to be more flexible, especially with left back Brad Smith’s status past July still unknown.
“Both Joevin and Brad can play up a line,” he said. “The rotation that we used when Nouhou and Joevin were together I can still use that.
“Joevin actually for his national team played right midfield, so there’s some opportunities and of course the logistics surrounding Brad are still up in the air so we’re going take each week that we have all three of them as a blessing and see what shakes out.”
Jones is coming off a bit of a break, as his last game with Darmstadt 98 was in April. That said, both Schmetzer and Jones indicated he is an option for the game versus Dallas.
“I’d say 70-80% fit but in time I’ll be 100%,” Jones said. Even though he’s been gone for a significant amount of time, it doesn’t appear he’ll have much difficulty re-acclimating with the club and city. “I feel like I left yesterday,” Jones said with a smile.