Less than two weeks after winning their third MLS Cup title, the Crew signed Derrick Jones to add depth in center midfield and center back. Jones is a guy who has all of the physical tools to be a force but has never quite been able to put it all together. This makes him perfect for Crew head coach Wilfried Nancy.
The sports landscape is dotted with guys like Jones. They have all the physical tools and many of the required skillsets to not just be, but one of the better players at their position. Yet, they can never quite seem to pull everything together. The Crew is Jones’ fifth MLS stop since breaking in with Philadelphia in 2016. He’s started 64 of 108 games in his career, including 20 in 28 appearances for Charlotte last year. To be in the league this long, you’re obviously doing something right, but Jones seems like a guy who should have done so much more. This is what makes him perfect for Nancy.
Nancy excels at getting the most out of his players. Take a look at the development of Sean Zawadzki, Mo Farsi, and Alex Matan as examples. Zawadzki received a USMNT call-up earlier this month and Farsi is the target of a Saudi club. This time last year, you would not have thought either of those things were possible.
Jones wasn’t signed just because he was a free transfer. I promise you Nancy sees a skillset he can develop and utilize in his system. You may not see it at first, because it seems to take guys a while to understand and integrate into Nancy’s attacking style. But, I promise you, Jones will be a much-improved player when September rolls around and the playoff stretch run begins.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say 2024 will be the best of Derrick Jones’ career and it is because he is perfect for Wilfried Nancy.