There has been a growing sense of anxiety among many Toronto FC fans about the fact that club has been shedding so many players but has not shown any real signs of bringing new ones in. Sure they drafted a nice collection of players but with no new signings or even trialists through the first weeks of training camp there was reason to be worried that the club would be left scrambling to fill the roster at the last moment.
Today we finally got word that at least one player is on trial with the club. Word came via Neil Davidson on twitter, who joined the team down in Orlando today, that the club has been joined by Joevin Jones.
Jones is a left sided player who has already made quite a name for himself in Trinidad and Tobago at the age of 21. He has been playing in the TT Pro League since 2010 with W Connection and already has 24 caps for the national team. His early career has been so promising that many who follow T&T feel that he is one of the countries most exciting young players and should be a regular in their national team for a long time to come.
He is described as a utility player but spends the majority of his time as a left back who has shown promise when pushing forward down the wings. He provides a left footed threat to cross from open play and also on set pieces for his club.
Trialing a player like Jones makes good sense for Toronto FC as there is clearly a lack of options that can play on the left side in the current roster. Outside of Ashtone Morgan there really is no one that offers much of a threat down the left and it is one area that certainly needs to be addressed.
The bad news is that TFC has not exactly had a glorious history when it comes to signing T&T players. Jones would be following in the foot steps of Colin Samuel, Rick Titus, and Julius James. The good news is that if he does sign by the time he features in his second game he will already have gone above and beyond what Rick Titus did in his one game loan to TFC.
Jones would also represent a fairly affordable option for the club as salaries in the TT Pro League are still very modest with most players earning well under $100k per season. It has served as a feeder league in the past sending players to smaller European leagues, Asia, and the United States making it an attractive place for MLS teams to look for potential bargains.
Jones also comes with some familiarity with CONCACAF competition having featured in 3 Champions League games last summer for W Connection in their group stage. His side was in a group that did not include any MLS teams but he did get the chance to play against Xelajú MC and Chivas Guadalajara.
Last year also saw Jones make a pair of starts during the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers as he was inserted into the lineup after T&T's 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Mexico in their opening game. He went the full 90 in a 1-1 draw against Panama and again during the 2-0 defeat against Honduras.
It is a good looking resume on paper having played at all the highest levels available to him at just 21 years of age but it is always hard to judge how a player will transition when they make a move up to a league like MLS. Excelling in T&T or say Bermuda clearly does not assure they will do the same in MLS but it gives enough reason to suggest that Jones is a player worth the club taking a look at.