Player of the Week

Player of the week: Derrick Jones

Photo: Paul Rudderow

The Union know they have something special in Derrick Jones. The United States national team may start feeling the same way soon.

Jones made his international debut at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea and what a debut it was. Despite not starting in the U.S.’s first match against Ecuador, Philadelphia’s homegrown talent entered the game in the 34th minute after Gedion Zelalem went down with a significant knee injury. Jones started a counterattack which led to the U.S.’ opening goal in the 3-3 draw.

The young midfielder started the next two matches against Senegal and Saudi Arabia and he showed his promise on the international stage. Jones isn’t the goalscorer to bask in highlights but a midfield force capable of dictating play in the center of the pitch as he shields his back line with athleticism and tenacity.  The U.S. held Senegal to two shots on goal in their 1-0 victory. And against Saudi Arabia, an early red card left the boys in red, white, and blue down a man but Jones’s defensive mettle was a big reason why the U.S. earned a point in a 1-1 draw.

Tab Ramos, the U-20 coach, will be the first to tell you Jones was a big reason why the U.S. finished at the top of their group. But it’s funny how close he came to missing the tournament as two weeks prior to the World Cup, Jones wasn’t eligible to play for the Americans. Born in Bantama, Ghana, the midfielder didn’t earn U.S. citizenship until last year. As the tournament crept closer, Jones was still waiting for FIFA to issue a waiver clearing him to play for the Stars and Stripes. Eventually, it came.

Next up, the U.S. will face New Zealand in the round of 16 on June 1 but without Jones, unfortunately. He picked up his second yellow card of the tournament against Saudi Arabia and is suspended for the contest against the Kiwis. The Americans will also be without Cameron Carter-Vickers, who picked up the red card in the same match. It may open the door for another Philadelphia Union academy product to shine though as Austin Trusty is a possible candidate to enter Ramos’ starting 11.

If the U.S. wins, there is no question he would return to the lineup against Venezuela in the quarterfinals but it is bittersweet for Philadelphia. With Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin set for international duty, the Union are Jonesin’ for their young star.

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2 Comments

  1. If the first team didn’t suck, we would probably be much more happy with the early successes of our Academy and even our continued success in the draft.

  2. Congrats to Derrick; well deserved especially after the terrible performance of the rest of the players in Salt Lake!

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