By NICHOLAS MURRAY – email@example.com
Thursday, December 3, 2015
CHESTER, Pa. – When Brendan Burke was introduced as Bethlehem Steel FC’s Head Coach earlier this month, he signaled that a number of graduates from the Philadelphia Union’s academy would be part of the team’s inaugural season.
On Thursday, the first of those players was unveiled as 18-year-old Academy product Derrick Jones was announced as the club’s first signing.
“We’re absolutely ecstatic to have a player of Derrick’s caliber join our club and we can’t think of a more fitting player to be our first signing,” Burke said in a press release. “Over the past few years, he’s shown us his great potential both at the Academy and at First Team training, and we couldn’t be happier to keep him within our organization to continue his development. As we begin to build a competitive team for next season, I think this move speaks to our commitment to serve as the vital connection between our great Academy and the Philadelphia Union.”
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A native of Ghana, Jones came to the Union’s attention while playing for local club Junior Lone Star, with which he competed in the 2013 Super Y League North American Finals. For the past three seasons he has been part of the Union’s Academy, and in the past two seasons has scored 11 goals in 34 appearances for the Union’s U18 side in the USSF Development Academy. Jones also holds dual citizenship with the United States. He moved to the United States four years ago.“We discovered Derrick when he played in a friendly match against our U-18s for Junior Lone Star,” Union Academy Director Tommy Wilson said. “My recollection was that he was the best player on the pitch that day and we decided to take Derrick in on trial and quite quickly realized that here was a boy with great potential. He also joined our school and now shows a passion for learning both on and off the field. Derrick’s father and grandfather are from Ghana and entrusted us with Derrick’s future and development. I am proud that the faith they had shown in us has come to fruition and he is the first pro signing from the Philadelphia Union Academy.”