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Union acquire Matt Jones on loan from Belenenses

The England native joins the Union on a season-long loan from a top-flight Portuguese team.

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Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Union have announced the season-long loan signing of goalkeeper Matt Jones from Portuguese club Belenenses. Jones was born in England, but he holds a U.S. green card, meaning he will not occupy an international roster spot.

From the Union's release, here's sporting director Earnie Stewart on his newest player:

"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, a native of Stoke-on-Trent, played academy ball for Port Vale and West Bromwich Albion growing up, but decided to leave his home country after failing to catch on with a club. He came to America to play college soccer at Sacred Heart University, a small school in Connecticut. After he graduated in 2009, Jones had a brief stint in the USL before moving to Portugal, where he has played for the last seven years.

Jones rose to prominence with Belenenses, his current club, when he backstopped their promotion campaign in the 2012-13 season. His performances earned him profiles from The Telegraph and The Daily Mail, both of which pegged him as a challenger to Joe Hart's position in England's goal.

The move ensures that the Union will have a more than capable backup for Andre Blake, who is set to miss his fair share of games while playing for Jamaica in the Copa America and World Cup Qualifiers this summer.