Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Former Red Devil Ritchie Jones chose FC Edmonton over San Jose

Former Red Devil Ritchie Jones chose FC Edmonton over San Jose

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Ritchie Jones had a good a pretty good idea that he’d be spending the tail end of the winter playing in North America, for a Canadian coach.

The question: Would it be FC Edmonton boss Colin Miller? Or would it be Miller’s old national-teammate, Mark Watson, now the coach of the San Jose Earthquakes?

Jones, a former Manchester United prospect, decided to go with NASL over MLS; not only did FC Edmonton offer him the certainty of a contract over a San Jose camp, but after speaking with Miller, the midfielder decided that heading to Alberta would be the best next step for his career.

“I spent time with San Jose Earthquakes last summer and they wanted me to come back for their preseason,” said Jones after an FC Edmonton training session at Commonwealth Fieldhouse. “But, since I talked to Colin, I felt Edmonton was the right place for me.”

So, what were the deciding factors to choose Edmonton over the Bay Area?

Ritchie Jones

“I think it was the ambition of the club, I could sense that when Colin spoke to me,” said Jones. “They have a lot of talented young players and it’s a matter of giving them a professional club environment, based on a professional attitude and hard work.”

Jones was part of Manchester United’s academy system before his 10th birthday, and eventually would make four League Cup and one FA Cup appearance with the Red Devils. During his time at United, he went on four separate loan spells. After leaving Manchester, he would play for five different English sides over five years. His last stop was Grimsby Town, and he and the club agreed to part ways in 2013 because of personal reasons. He would then make the move across the Atlantic and head all the way to California to trial with San Jose.

But Jones doesn’t see his well-travelled past as a problem; just the opposite.

“Obviously, my time with Manchester United was the highlight of my career. But there have been other things which have come in the different stops which have benefitted my career. I’ve been able to play at three or four different levels, and it’s been able to bring out different sides to my game.”

While Jones is new to FCE, he’s well aware of the makeup of the club. He knows that the team boasts one of the best defensive records in the NASL, but hasn’t been able to take advantage of it because it sits at the bottom of the league in terms of goals scored. Jones feels it won’t take much to move the club up the table in 2014, because the defensive base is already there. Just a few goals will do it.

“I think the defensive mentality is instilled within the team,” said Jones. “Everyone knows that if he does his job, we have a good chance of keeping a clean sheet.

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