The Philadelphia Union parted ways with one of their promising Homegrown players on Thursday night.
The club announced it traded midfielder Derrick Jones to USL Championship side Nashville SC in exchange for $175,000 in General Allocation Money for the 2020 Major League Soccer season.
Jones will spend the rest of the 2019 campaign on loan with Nashville SC in the USL Championship and then will move up to MLS in 2020 with one of the league’s latest expansion sides.
“I wish him all the best,” Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said at Friday’s training session. “Personally, I really regret the bit that we needed to do it because we never like to give away our young players, but this is a special case and I think it’s absolutely the right decision for both parties.”
Jones was forced down the midfield depth chart after the arrivals of Marco Fabian and Jamiro Monteiro and the emergence of fellow Homegrown player Brenden Aaronson.
“For a young player, he should have the possibility to integrate himself in MLS and I think it’s an easier way to do via an expansion team,” Tanner said.
The 22-year-old, who was signed as a Homegrown Player in 2016, made two appearances for 57 minutes in 2019 before the trade.
“Jonesy also wanted to do (the move).” Tanner said. “He tried hard. He was not happy last season when I came with his appearances. He tried to get more playing time, but it didn’t work out.”
“If you see that it is not going consecutively for three or four years, then you need to make that decision without any question,” Tanner said.
Jones has earned most of his playing time this season with the Union’s USL Championship affiliate Bethlehem Steel.
“I would say it’s important for him to get minutes in a man’s team now,” Tanner said. “We could have used him in Bethlehem, but he is over that stage. He’s certainly not capable to get minutes in our first team. That was the main reason we needed to do the move.”
Tanner also stated that a move away from home for Jones could help him mature as a player.
“That’s what we solved in addition and could have influenced that he really didn’t make it with us,” Tanner said.
The $175,000 in GAM acquired in the deal adds to the $500,000 in allocation money the Union received in the David Accam deal with the Columbus Crew earlier this week.
The Union currently have 25 eligible players on their first-team roster, and they will look to make some additions when the transfer window opens again.
“(The roster size) is enough for the period until the next transfer window is going to be open,” Tanner said. “At the moment, we are at the minimum and we have to take care of our players. The difficulties we’ve faced so far are abnormal. Injuries, visa issues, suspensions and also the fact that we traveled twice to the west coast already. There are lots of things coming around.”
Tanner noted the club is looking at players from outside of the club and some possible Homegrown Players to add later in the season.
“There are already offers out and we need to wait until they agree and then we will bring them on,” Tanner said.