The Philadelphia Union announced on Tuesday the club has acquired English-born goalkeeper Matt Jones via loan from Belenenses of Portugal’s Primeira Liga, pending the approval of an international transfer certificate (ITC). Currently on loan at C.D. Tondela, also in Portugal’s top division, Jones holds a United States Permanent Resident Card and will not occupy an international spot upon joining the club. He will be on loan for the remainder of the 2016 season.
“Matt’s experience and ability in big games will be a key asset to this goalkeeping group,” Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart said. “We will count on him to become an immediate contributor, both in terms of his mentoring ability for our younger keepers, but also for his pure shot-stopping abilities.”
Jones, 29, has been with Belenenses since 2012, helping the then-second division club win promotion during the 2012-13 season. That season, Jones appeared in 35 games and kept 16 clean sheets, leading Belenenses to the top of the table in the Segunda Liga. The following season, Jones appeared in 29 games and kept 11 clean sheets. Jones was loaned to C.D. Tondela prior to the 2015-16 season, where he’s appeared in 11 games. He finished his career at Belenenses with 89 appearances, 35 clean sheets and 1.07 goals against average. Prior to Belenenses, Jones signed his first professional contract with Portugal’s C.D. Santa Clara in 2009, where he played until 2011.
Prior to his career in Portugal, Jones was in the United States, attending college at Sacred Heart University of the Northeast Conference (Division I). While there, he was a Second Team All-NEC selection as a freshman in 2005, leading the Pioneers to their first NEC Tournament appearance. Jones was also a two-time First Team All-NEC selection and went on to have a brief stint with the Western Mass Pioneers of the Premier Development League in the United States. He played in four games and made his debut against Harrisburg City Islanders.
Prior to his time in the states, Jones spent time in the Port Vale youth academy – his hometown team. He also spent time at West Bromwich Albion.