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Joevin for HJK: Connection ace joins Europa-bound Finnish champs

DIRECTV W Connection midfield ace and, arguably, the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League’s most gifted player, Joevin Jones, is off to Finland for a six-month loan deal with top flight champion team, HJK FC.

Jones, 23, is scheduled to leave for Helsinki tomorrow to meet his teammates for the first time. By next month, the “Soca Warrior” could be a Europa League player as HJK has qualified for the group round of UEFA’s second most prestigious club competition.

Photo: W Connection midfielder Joevin Jones (left) outfoxes San Juan Jabloteh defender Nyron Jones during a Pro League contest. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection midfielder Joevin Jones (left) outfoxes San Juan Jabloteh defender Nyron Jones during a Pro League contest.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

HJK is drawn in a group that includes Torino (Italy), Club Brugge (Belgium) and FC Copenhagen (Denmark).

“I’m very excited,” Jones told Wired868. “It is my first contract abroad and I really want to do well and earn a big move for myself.”

Jones, who has 35 senior national caps, joins a league that has seemingly acquired a taste for Trinidad and Tobago talent. His former Connection teammate, 22-year-old Shahdon Winchester, is at mid-table FF Jaro and is four goals shy of the league’s top scoring mark of 11 items.

While Jones’ 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup teammates, left back Aubrey David and forward Jamal Gay, are also first team regulars at Jaro and RoPS respectively.

Jaro is seventh in the 12-team Veikkausliiga league and ahead of RoPS on goal difference. HJK is a distant first with a whopping 23 point advantage over both clubs.

Connection president David John Williams claimed that HJK has chased Jones for months but the move was delayed to help the “Savonetta Boys” clinch the 2013/14 Pro League title and the million dollar first prize.

HJK qualified for the group stage of the Europa League last Thursday after eking past Austrian club Rapid Wien in a play off and the Finnish team immediately revamped its interest in the young Warrior. HJK and Connection reached an agreement on Sunday afternoon.

Photo: HJK FC players celebrate their Europa League progress last month.
Photo: HJK FC players celebrate their Europa League progress last month.

“They wanted him for the Europa League (group stage) which ends in December,” said Williams, “and there is an option to renew the deal for another season as well as a pretty decent buy-out clause.”

Williams, who also sold winger Stefano Rijssel to Suriname champion team Inter Moengotapoe last week, denied the Surinamese international’s claim that Connection priced him out of a move to United States Major League Soccer (MLS) club Seattle Sounders.

“Let me make it categorically clear that the MLS never asked me for a price for Rijssel,” said Williams. “It was never a matter of money; so I’m very disappointed that Stefano made that statement.”

Connection could soon send another trio to Europe as 20-year-old right back Alvin Jones, who is Joevin’s younger brother, and teenaged attackers Jomal Williams and Neil Benjamin Jr are on trial at a third division club in France.

Williams claimed that the trio have already suitably impressed their host and it is only matter of agreeing terms for a loan move. He insisted that the possible transfer was a promising one for the former national youth players despite the low status of the unnamed suitor.

“Remember (Ivory Coast legend) Didier Drogba signed for a Third Division club at the age of 23,” said Williams, “and, three years later, he was at Chelsea… If they start there and do well, then in six months’ time they can be in the (France top flight).

“It is just to get into the system.”

Photo: W Connection right back Alvin Jones (right) celebrates after a goal against Central FC last season. Connection defender Daneil Cyrus (left) is on loan in Vietnam at present. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)
Photo: W Connection right back Alvin Jones (right) celebrates after a goal against Central FC last season.
Connection defender Daneil Cyrus (left) is on loan in Vietnam at present.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/Wired868)

The elder Jones expressed delight at his chance to move up the football ladder in Europe after unsuccessful trials with Italy Serie A club, Udinese, and MLS teams, Colorado Rapids and Toronto FC, over the last four years.

His only look at HJK so far was on television as he watched the Finnish giants face a fairly strong Barcelona team in an exhibition match in Helsinki. Barcelona strolled to a 6-0 win.

“They tried to put the ball on the ground and play,” said Jones, “but you know how Barcelona can press…”

HJK employs 11 players who have represented Finland in 2014 including 33-year-old former Chelsea striker Mikael Forssell, who played alongside Stern John at Birmingham City, and 34-year-old ex-Tottenham midfielder Teemu Taino.

Jones will be HJK’s seventh foreigner in its present squad although only Gambian attacker Demba Savage is a regular international player from their over overseas recruits.

Jones, who helped Trinidad and Tobago win silver at the 2012 Caribbean Cup, is unsure whether his European move might affect his international career in the short-term.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago utility player Joevin Jones (right) drives past Jamaica midfielder Jermaine Woozencroft during a friendly international in Port of Spain on 19 November 2013. (Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago utility player Joevin Jones (right) drives past Jamaica midfielder Jermaine Woozencroft during a friendly international in Port of Spain on 19 November 2013.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/TTFA Media)

Trinidad and Tobago starts its 2014 Caribbean Cup campaign next month in a qualifying group at home.

“If my club wants me to, I will be happy to come back and play,” said Jones. “I always love playing for my country.”

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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66 comments

  1. Lets learn from this power corrupts absolute power corrupts, you know the rest.

  2. Yes he was coach agent manager teacher father he use 2 act like owned the club and no 1 challenged him with anything

  3. So Terry was acting as an agent…

  4. One has to be a good amateur with good attitude and discipline to be a good professional,not only in sport but every aspect of life.If ones does not have those it is best to forget it…….

  5. Yes earl this man asked me 4 over 400000 euros and 25 percent sell on 4 a unknown 20 year old tnt player

  6. This is good more pros. We need more players playing in Europe so the can learn professionalism. Not saying the pro league coaches are not professional. The facilities and the administration and attention to detail will be better.

  7. hope he is prepared to work extra hard to stay with them ……he will give a good account of himself……

  8. What pissed me off about the Jabloteh deal was Terry Fenwick made it near impossible 2 get a contract 4 Primus but when he got thru he was paid 50 percent of the players transfer fee after he did the player so much injustice

  9. It’s very disappointing to see such a wonderful opportunity for Joevin turned into a slagging match. How can a professional agent in this industry describe playing in the Europa League and Finland’s top league as “waste of time”? What about career development FIRST and money SECOND? Furthermore, for the player to be described akin to a “chimp in a space suit” with regards to homesickness is DISTASTEFUL. Let me point out the player himself may see these negative comments and other players too. Great to recruitment strategy 🙂 W Connection and his Representatives will support Joevin in all matters on and off the field, don’t worry yourself; EYES WIDE OPEN.

    Over to you Joevin. Let your football do the talking. #EuropaLeagueHereWeCome

  10. Hi guys just came of vacation, very interesting discussion, you know what i wonder if any of this is being sensored by the powers that can effect change. No incentives for the young players i can give an example but choose not to. LETS START SENDING OUR THOUGHTS TO THE T.T.F.A just for so!!! ha.

  11. I agree. ..because I always believe the player always have the last word in wherever they go…a club can’t force u to go play anywhere its always up to u …that final decision

  12. The key is football and academic education is very vital 2 make sure these have the the proper attitude fundementals and basic knowledge that will assist them 2 deal with challenges on and off the pitch 2 be independent and always make sure they have a say in their future

  13. So yes dion educate them put them in a better frame of my for the tough challenge ahead…its starts from the schools player’s feel that they are so good already. ..and come up the level with these attitudes…look now how much it takes to get kids to Europe that cant be exploitation ..games against Ac milan, inter, etc… a huge tour for the development of youngsters. …who knows one day one of them might be your player…u never know …so how do we change the game?what do we do? So give the encouragement to people like david who is putting out and yes discuss how things can get better. ..

  14. I agree with everything u are saying and I am hard on players I deal with I let them know this is a once in a lifetime opportunity so grab it I was just pointing out some of the issues these guys face and it needs 2 be fixed asap

  15. Dion I dont have issues with u to so iam not taking this personal but I know whats involved and I want we the people involved to be more conscious of what we say and put out there to the public…if not the people who put their monies on the line will one day pull out or maybe put less in and where will our professional football go…
    Clubs have to survive and they need to make their monies by selling players. …stop depending on government subvention to keep this alive …think like a business…or we all will be in trouble well I have my European passport so I can always runaway there or go to st lucia…but that’s not it…its about building this industry to be self reliant and giving back so players can have a better life in football…I know they can…