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U.S. U-20 MNT forward Zyen Jones joins Charlotte Independence


Zyen Jones is returning to the United States.

USL side Charlotte Independence announced on Friday they’ve signed Jones to the 2019 roster. Zones, 18, spent last season with Bundesliga outfit Schalke, scoring three goals and adding three assists in 18 appearances for the U-19 team.

“Zyen Jones is young and energetic and a really fast, direct winger that can press the game really well,” Independence head coach Jim McGuinness said. “He’s fantastic in one-v-one situations and he carries a big threat going forward. We’re really happy to have acquired him and he’ll bring a different dynamic to the offense.”

Jones is a product of Atlanta United’s youth system and appeared in the 2017 Concacaf U-17 Championship for the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team.

He made his U-20 MNT debut last March in Tab Ramos’ squad, featuring in friendlies against Atletico Madrid’s U-21 squad and France’s U-20 team.

Jones will be available for the Independence’s USL clash against North Carolina FC on Saturday.


  1. Since he’s probably going to be loaned out or sent to a youth development team anyplace else, but for a bigger paycheck, why sign directly to the minors? The paycheck is peanuts and people will start judging him as a veteran professional at age 18. Gale A. Had this bright idea — which puts you in a weak club situation to nominally increase freedom — and he had 14 career MLS appearances and never made it back to Europe.

    • Probably one year deal and will enter the MLS draft next year. I couldn’t find anything about bad feelings between he and ATL but I think a HG contract would be his only path to MLS this season. It doesn’t seem likely he’d play above USL for ATL given Carleton’s struggles for time. Similar to Ebobsisse who left Duke then bounced around Europe on trials for awhile before playing for I think it was Charleston then was drafted the following year by Portland. Also he’s not on the allocation list because he hasn’t made a big enough mark as a YNT player. Seems not so much tactical as he was homesick and this was his option to play this season.

      • sorry, no, implosion. ok, so he misses the U20 world cup team, then comes home from germany at 18, and let’s see what other advantages he can blow. atlanta may not be his ideal choice, but what makes more sense, schalke or charlotte? he will likely get drafted but he will have a lot of charlotte tape when he does, so his career starts now. ebobisse toured abroad and played for the battery for what would have been the fall duke semester, he wasn’t dropping out of Europe, and as a U20 regular he was operating from a position of strength. this guy will probably get a minimum contract and no benefit from being former schalke.

      • I’m not his agent no need to get upset with me. You seemed confused about the move to the minors. I gave you what I think was the reason he signed with Charlotte. Playing abroad isn’t for everyone, Stefan came home from Europe and although Crew property played in the minors for a year and then turned out to be one of the best keepers in the pool. Seems a troubling move but not a death sentence by any means.

      • my responsive examples would be Gabe A and Felix Garcia, who signed HGP with the Dynamo and then went back to Laredo for the Heat claiming homesickness. we ironically went through a weak forward period and he never had much of a career. this would be the second time jones has made a spazzy decision to avoid atlanta — the team he academied with. first being schalke. i understand what you say about carleton but carleton has U20 cachet and will get another chance if atlanta wastes him. a guy who spends a year at schalke and runs home plus evades atlanta plus signs in USL looks immature and scared and is running out of chances and better play out of his mind when he comes back. i assume his pro deal burned his college window, a dumb decision if he comes homesick. and now in order to avoid atlanta he’s signing in the minors, which is now going to frame his adult future. i would have moved someplace else in europe or preserved my college eligibility. the thing you miss on ebobisse is that by staying at duke and being a U20 leader he had buzz going for him coming back. this kid is basically crash landing and this is his career window right now. if he looks bad for charlotte i am not sure why someone drafts him.

      • You’re right if he plays badly, he’ll be struggling for options but that’s true if he’d been able to sign straight into MLS. Based on what we’ve seen of him he’s a USL level player at this time and was unlikely to make the U20 roster in May anyway. The other option is he plays well and he moves to MLS next season. Perhaps we’ll hear from him in the next few weeks on whats and the whys.

      • i suggested stay in europe precisely because i believe he would probably struggle for playing time here. a player not making the U20 team and on a U19 team abroad probably needs a development situation and not a first team gamble. he would play with adults and probably be a squadie in atlanta, but the same is true in charlotte. except in atlanta he would at least be given a MLS deal before being loaned down or treated like an adult. this way he will probably be playing for the pro-rated remainder of a $30k minor league deal. with his career at stake. whereas if you stay in europe you get high level training for a few more years, and then have a variety of options at various levels to continue your career. including coming back to MLS later as a mature adult, or god forbid coming to USL. fwiw steffen didn’t come back to USL he came back to Columbus, and did so as the U20 starting keeper. to me the career trajectory of missing the U20 team, dropping out of schalke, and then signing to the minors is not pretty. you have burned all the advantages a prestige YNT usually has, and are almost back to just another player. if he didn’t like Germany but has an EU passport there are places like England, Scotland, Ireland.

      • You mean like when I said in my comment “Steffan was Crew property but played in USL for a year.”

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