CHICAGO – DeJuan Jones couldn’t get the smile off his face after the New England Revolution made him the 11th overall pick in Friday afternoon’s MLS SuperDraft 2019 presented by adidas.
Not that he was trying.
“Just hearing [MLS Commissioner Don Garber] say ‘Michigan State,’ I was like, ‘Oh, that could be me!’ Then they said my name,” Jones said as he was put through the media gauntlet following his selection. “Oh, man. I can’t even describe how I’m feeling. It’s amazing. I’ve been working for this my whole life.”
Revolution General Manager Michael Burns and head coach Brad Friedel were similarly excited about the pick, as they added a second versatile attacking piece following the selection of Tajon Buchanan with the ninth overall selection.
Jones registered 16 goals and 14 assists during a four-year career at Michigan State, and while Friedel praised his versatility, Jones said he feels most comfortable out wide or as a second forward.
“I’m excited to use my pace, use my versatility, my good off-the-ball movements for the team’s success,” Jones said. “Let’s just go as far as we can this year.”
Jones will have plenty of work to do when he kicks off his first professional camp on January 21 in Foxborough, as he’ll enter preseason as an unsigned draft pick fighting for a roster spot. But he’s fully prepared to put in the work, particularly for a coaching staff that believes in him.
“When I had the interview with them, I just really liked their energy,” Jones said. “They seemed to be really interested in me as a player. They’re going to believe in me. I’m going to go in and work as hard as I can and just keep grinding every day.”
Along with Buchanan, there’s hope that Jones can provide an attacking spark to a group that scored just 49 goals last season, putting them in the bottom half of the league in attacking output.
“We want to add goals to our team this season, which I’ve not kept a secret,” said Friedel. “These are two young players that we hope to get developed into our system as quickly as possible.”