“I want to be the best outside back in the league” | Jones aiming for the top with Revs

6_17_23 DeJuan Jones action

SAN ANTONIO – Defender DeJuan Jones has challenged himself to become the best outside back in Major League Soccer, and he believes Caleb Porter’s New England Revolution provides the perfect platform to take his game to the next level.

The left back has enjoyed a memorable start to 2024. Currently on United States Men’s National Team duty (alongside Revs Homegrown Esmir Bajraktarevic), Jones celebrated his engagement to fiancée Sierra shortly before Christmas, and penned a new four-year contract with the Revolution on Thursday.

Set to embark on his sixth season in Foxborough, the 26-year-old has gone from strength-to-strength since his arrival as a first-round SuperDraft pick in 2019, forging a regular starting spot to become one of the most highly-rated wingbacks in the country. Impressing at both ends of the pitch, his offensive threat has proven a key weapon in the Revolution armory, with the USMNT star standing as one of only three MLS defenders to have notched five-or-more assists in each of the last three seasons.

Having also played a pivotal role in the club’s record-breaking Supporters’ Shield success in 2021, the Revs’ No. 24 has crafted 24 goal contributions since the start of 2020 – the league’s second-highest return for a defender during that span. With an exciting year ahead for club and country, and keen to enhance his individual performance, Jones asserts the decision to remain with the Revolution was a simple one – the place he calls ‘home’, and the best environment for his development.

“New England has been my home for the last five years,” he declared. “It’s been great, the way the fans have embraced me, and I’ve really enjoyed my time here.

“I’ve had good conversations with the front office, and with Caleb Porter, and I like the direction the Revs are heading in. I think we’re going to be really successful, so I was excited to extend my time here in New England, and I think we’re going to do big things.

“[Since joining the club] I’ve definitely got a lot more experience. Overall, my understanding of the game [is better] – you come in as a rookie, and you think you know a lot, and then you realize there’s a lot more to learn. I’ve undergone a position change since I first got here, and [I feel] more comfortable, more confident, playing much more minutes.

“Getting Caleb Porter was a big get for the Revs. He’s a proven winner. I’ve had conversations with him, and he’s telling me about ways he can help elevate my game. That’s always what I’m looking to do – always looking to improve – and I think he can give us that structure that we need to reach new heights, new levels.

“For the past couple of years, I’ve been amongst the best outside backs in the league – but I want to be the best outside back in the league. This year, with new coaching, new ideas, a new environment, I think this will help me to continue to grow and stake my claim for being the best outside back in the league.

“For me, that’s locking down defensively, as well as scoring more goals and assisting; being able to keep possession for the team, and being a leader out there – continuing to lead with my actions, and with my voice. I have a lot of personal goals this year, and I think Caleb Porter can help me to reach those goals.

“I’ve already talked to a few guys who are there [in Foxborough] for preseason, and it’s changed – it’s more difficult, and guys are enjoying the challenge – so I’m really looking forward to the direction we’re heading in, and I think we’re going to be really successful.

“[Long-term] I would say, I still want to go to Europe if the opportunity is there. Then, we’ll see what happens when it gets to that situation, but for now, this was the best move for my career. Getting a new coaching change is always something you can really benefit from so there’ll be new instruction, new ideas, and I’m excited to learn from a different coach. I really want to win something here in New England, and I think we have the talent on the roster to do that.

“I’ve been fortunate to grow under the coaches that I’ve had, and with this new coach, there’s a new opportunity to continue to grow, continue to learn, and continue to be the best person I could be on and off the field. This year is big, and I think we can really do some big things.”

In addition to his on-field progress, Jones also feels he has grown as a person away from the pitch since joining the Revolution.

Immersing himself in New England life from the outset, the defender has become an active and much-loved member of the local community, dedicating much of his free time to charity work, fundraising and spreading awareness for various causes to aid Boston families – from September’s ‘Back To School With The Revs’ initiative, to the Thanksgiving ‘Turkey Club’ food drive in partnership with the Providence Rescue Mission.

Deeply passionate about helping those less fortunate, Jones has been immensely proud to have played his part in spreading positivity and kindness across the region, and is looking forward to continuing his incredible work in the coming years.

“When you spend so much time in a place, you start to get to know the fans, get to know the community, and it’s a great community,” he smiled.

“The way the fans have embraced me over the years has been tremendous. I’ve worked closely with the community here, and I’m excited to continue the work, and the fundraisers we do.

“There are a lot of good things to continue to build on here in New England. I’m excited for more years.”

Readying himself for his first minutes of 2024 with Saturday’s USMNT friendly against Slovenia, Jones is eager to kick off the new year on a bright note, hoping to start as he means to go on, and continue his fine form.

Capped seven times by his country, the wingback already has three assists to his name, including two tee-ups in four starts at the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup tournament.

With so much to play for on both the domestic and international fronts this year, the left back is relishing the pressure of maintaining a high level of performance, in the knowledge hard work can reap the greatest rewards.

“I think the biggest thing is just consistency,” he added. “If you can stay playing at a high level, it’s tough to get knocked off, and tough to not get called in.

“I would say: continue to perform at a high level each and every day – obviously continuing to get goals and assists, continuing to be a lockdown defender, and be a guy that no-one likes to play against. Those are the responsibilities of an outside back, and understanding the system here.

“It’s another opportunity in this [USMNT] camp just to get to know the system a little bit better, play with some of these players. My ambitions: the 2026 World Cup, but there are steps to get there – there’s Copa America this summer, there’s Nations League in March.

“I’m looking to be involved, and I know that’s going to take incredible performances week in, week out. It’s a big year for me, and I’ll looking forward to the challenge.”