Sat, Dec

Inter Miami defender Joevin Jones

Manchester United fan and Trinidad & Tobago international Joevin Jones, is honoured to play for Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami, coached by former United player Phil Neville and owned by a group including United legend David Beckham.

Inter Miami’s efforts in MLS this season should be of interest to English fans, not only because of Beckham and Neville, but also English players Ryan Shawcross and Kieran Gibbs. The club with a fascinating short history open their season on Sunday against LA Galaxy (8pm, live on Sky Sports Football).

Jones recently joined the club from Seattle Sounders, after winning two MLS Cups and four Western Conference titles. He first came to America to play for Chicago Fire, and has also played in Finland and Germany. In his career, Jones has amassed the biggest football trophy tally by any Trinidad & Tobago player since Dwight Yorke was plying his trade in England for Manchester United.

“It’s an honour to be signed by Inter Miami. It’s a big club and the names behind it are magnificent. These names will certainly help it to be recognized more globally and I’m happy to be here and excited to start the season”, said Jones.

In 2008, before Jones became a professional player, the England team captained by Beckham came to Trinidad to play a famous international friendly, where the England FA tried to convince the disgraced former FIFA executive Jack Warner to support England’s bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which they lost out controversially to Russia.

Jones recalled being at the game, and how seeing Beckham alongside other United and Premier League players in the flesh increased his drive to become a professional. 

“As a kid growing up we looked at the English Premier League because it had Dwight Yorke, Shaka Hislop, Kenwyne Jones, Carlos Edwards and Jason Scotland playing and I backed Manchester United”, said Jones.

“So to see those players coming to play in Trinidad like Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard, Ashley Young – even though we (Trinidad) lost the game it was a great experience to see those players in real life and not on TV. It was a great motivator to push myself at the time to become a professional player.”

For this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, the confederation chose Inter Miami’s stadium to host the preliminary stage.

The 29 year old Jones is not surprised by this, saying: “To be honest Inter Miami stadium and facilities is one of the top venues in the world to me. The facilities are great and everything is right there together in the playing stadium and training ground. That’s extra motivation as players to be on job sites to work harder and cherish it.”

Jones concluded his thoughts speaking on how he believes the English duo of Shawcross and Gibbs will adjust to the league and as a former MLS title winner, how he thinks Inter Miami is shaping up heading into their second season of existence.

“To be honest not every player from abroad fits in (to the MLS right away). A new player coming to a new club has to know the players and the rhythm of the team. So while I think it might take a while for them, as guys with a lot of experience I’m backing Shawcross & Gibbs when he comes to adjust to the MLS quickly”, said Jones.

“I think the team under coach Neville is heading in the right direction. We have some big name players with European and MLS experience, which is the ideal mix to win an MLS cup once we play to potential.”