Big, powerful forwards are always in demand, and expansion team Atlanta United has announced Friday it has signed Premier League veteran Kenwyne Jones to a contract.
Jones, 31, has played for Trinidad & Tobago 81 times, scoring 23 goals, and counts Southampton, Sunderland, Stoke City, and Cardiff City among his former English clubs. He had been on loan with Al Jazira in the United Arab Emirates from Cardiff City, which also had loaned him to Bournemouth last year.
Atlanta technical director Carlos Bocanegra has been scouting players at the Copa America Centenario and European Championship but the former U.S. defender knows about Jones first-hand, having tangled with him several times at the club and international level.
“Kenwyne is a player we have known about and watched for a long time,” said Bocanegra in a statement provided by the team. “He is a big, physical forward who can punish you in the air or behind the defense. We're very happy that the timing worked out and we were able to acquire him during this transfer window.”
Atlanta will loan out Jones until preseason training starts in January prior to the club’s inaugural season in MLS.
Jones scored more than 100 goals in England, including 40 in 195 Premier League appearances. He left W Connection in his native country at 19 to sign with Southampton in 2004, a year after debuting for T&T. He played for T&T at the 2006 World Cup, the only one it has qualified for, and was his country’s Player of the Year for 2007.
He is the sixth player signed by the expansion team. Jones joins Chris McCann, Jeffrey Otoo, Alexander Tabakis, and Junior Burgos on the senior roster. Andrew Carlton has been signed to a Homegrown contract. Three players are on loan: Burgos to Tampa Bay (NASL), and Tabakis and Otoo to Charleston (USL).