TUKWILA — As a child in the Caribbean, all Joevin Jones dreamed about was playing soccer in Europe.
As an adult playing in Europe, those dreams shifted to returning to play for the Sounders.
That wish became reality Thursday, when Jones jogged onto the Starfire practice field to train with the Sounders. A member of Seattle’s 2016 MLS championship roster, he was again signed by the club earlier his month after two years playing in Germany.
“I dreamed about Seattle maybe three, four times,” said Jones, who’s from Carenage, Trinidad and Tobago. “I know I had an idea I’d be back. This is the team I really spent two years with, so I feel like I was home. I feel comfortable, I know everyone. The fans, the staff make me feel welcomed. That’s a plus for me. It’s all about family.”
Jones, 27, made the Sounders’ trip to Frisco, Texas, to be available for selection in Seattle’s matchup against FC Dallas on Saturday. The athletic midfielder/defender could be used in numerous spots on the field and was considered one of the best left backs in MLS during his final appearances for the Sounders in 2017.
Jones played two seasons with SV Darmstadt, a second-division team in Germany. He had 44 appearances with the club, scoring six goals. A coaching change prompted conversations with the Sounders to see if Jones could return.
SV Darmstadt agreed to defer payment of Jones’ $150,000 transfer fee until 2020, which Garth Lagerwey, the Sounders’ general manger and president of soccer, said is the only way Seattle would have been able to afford Jones. The deal was signed at the end of the primary transfer window.
“His time in Germany was successful,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said, adding that Jones looked good in the flow of practice with former teammates and still possesses a deceptive pace.
“The rotation that we used when (defender) Nouhou and Joevin were together, I can still use that,” Schmetzer continued. “Joevin for his national team played right midfield, cutting in on his left, so there’s some opportunities.”
Against Dallas (5-6-3), the Sounders will have plenty of options. In addition to reviving the Nouhou-Jones combo, there’s the stellar play of Australian left back Brad Smith. He’s second on the team with four assists.
But after Saturday, the Sounders (7-2-5) are anticipating 12 players being called up for various competitions and friendlies beginning June 3. The list includes Jones, who was named to his Trinidad and Tobago’s preliminary Gold Cup roster.
For Jones, there’s a comfort in knowing he’s returning to Seattle. He helped the Sounders to back-to-back MLS Cup appearances, recording three goals with 14 assists.
“When I was in Germany, I watched highlights, so I know what kind of players they are,” Jones said of the current Sounders roster. “I feel like I left yesterday.”
U.S. Soccer announced Thursday that Seattle will host Portland in the fourth round of the 2019 U.S. Open Cup. The match will be played either June 11 or 12 at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma.
“It puts a smile on my face,” Schmetzer said. “I think regional is the way to go. With the condensed (MLS) schedule, we’ve already got a ton of midweek games and then you add these types of games in there. It’s common sense that it stays regional for a while.”