Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team captain Kenwyne Jones will join a growing band of Soca Warriors in the United States Major League Soccer (MLS) competition, after the 31 year old forward agreed terms with new franchise, Atlanta United FC.
Atlanta United will make their MLS bow in the 2017 season while Jones will officially join the club on 1 August 2016 and immediately head out on loan until next January.
Central FC managing director Brent Sancho, who is Jones’ former 2006 World Cup teammate, revealed earlier this week that the “Couva Sharks” are keen to take the Warriors captain on loan and claimed the feeling is reciprocated by the player. However, Jones remains coy on his next destination while he waits on the start of his MLS adventure.
At present, Trinidad and Tobago internationals Kevin Molino (Orlando City), Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders), Mekeil Williams (Colorado Rapids), Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes) and Aubrey David (FC Dallas) are all employed by MLS teams.
Jones started his adult career with local Pro League club, W Connection, before moving to Britain where he represented Southampton, Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland, Stoke City, Cardiff City and Bournemouth before heading to Abu-Dhabi for a six month stint with Al Jazira.
At Atlanta, the towering frontman will be one of the building blocks for the new MLS club, which does not have a head coach yet although technical director and former United States international Carlos Bocanegra secured Jones’ signature.
“Kenwyne is a well-known player in the region, with top level production and experience in England and for the Trinidad and Tobago National Team,” said Bocanegra. “He is an absolute handful for defenders.”
Atlanta have signed just six players so far, although they are supposedly close to landing 21 year old Argentine winger Hector Villalba from San Lorenzo.
Villalba is expected to go to Mexico on loan while Atlanta already sent two players, Ghanian Jeffrey Otoo and American Andrew Carleton, for temporary employment with second tier affiliate club, Charleston Battery.
Battery, who would be another potential short term employer for Jones, already has two Trinidad and Tobago players, Neveal Hackshaw and Ataulla Guerra, on their roster.
Battery are fourth in the 14 team Eastern Conference standings at present with 32 points from 18 games. Trinidad and Tobago National Under-20 defender Noah Powder represents second placed New York Red Bulls II.
Hackshaw, a combative midfielder, and Guerra, an attacking midfielder, have played regularly for Battery. In Guerra’s case, the offensive production has been underwhelming, as the former Central playmaker managed just four shots on target in 15 games and registered no goals or assists yet for the USL club.