(ABOVE) Joevin Jones (pictured) hopes to be on the field for Trinidad Tobago's CONCACAF Gold Cup opener against Guatemala on July 9, 2015, in Chicago.
CHICAGO- Trinidad & Tobago midfielder Joevin Jones came to this city less than a year ago. A new country. A new team. A new league. The 23-year-old from Carenage signed with Major League Soccer side Chicago Fire in the winter.
He had to adjust to the lifestyle of a big city and earned his way into a starting position with the Fire. Now, he will get a chance to play for his national team in front of his club teammates and fans, when the Soca Warriors meet Guatemala in the first match of a Group C doubleheader at Soldier Field on Friday.
“It is a pleasure to be back in Chicago where I play with Chicago Fire,” said a modest Jones, who was part of Trinidad’s 2013 Gold Cup squad that reached the quarterfinals, falling narrowly 1-0 to Mexico. “I am happy to play here in the Gold Cup with my national team.”
Jones is no stranger to international football. He made his debut in 2010 as a 19-year-old and has accumulated 37 caps. With the Fire, the versatile Jones has started in 14 games, becoming an important component of the team’s structure.
As for the Gold Cup, Jones sees it from a veteran perspective.
“I expect a tough group like it was in the last Gold Cup,” he said. “This time around I think we have a lot of experience and I have a lot of experience to help us get our game done and come out of the group.”
Trinidad coach Stephen Hart said Jones could prove to be an important player in the tournament.
“He is a very talented player but he needs to be focused and be ready to play international football,” Hart commented. “But when he’s on, he can play a number of positions. He’s an intelligent player. He can bring a lot to this team.”
Against Guatemala, both Jones and Hart expect a challenge after playing in only three matches this year.
“We couldn’t get everyone in on time, but the players have been together for a little while and they should have an understanding of each other,” Hart finished. “The game tomorrow is the most important. You want to have a good showing, so it gives momentum for the rest of the games.”
With his Fire teammates expected to be in attendance, Jones hopes that Trinidad and he get off to a fast Gold Cup start.