Bethlehem Steel FC midfielder Derrick Jones is in line to make his first team debut in tonight’s friendly with Crystal Palace after being signed to a short-term deal.
Jones, who was Steel FC’s first ever signing, and defender Ryan Richter were both signed to short-term agreements by the Philadelphia Union for the friendly, a mechanism Major League Soccer allows for friendlies and U.S. Open Cup matches.
Jones has started 15 games for Steel FC this season and Richter has played every minute of all 17 games in the inaugural season of the Union’s USL club. Jones has a pair of goals and an assist and Richter leads the team with three goals from his right back position.
Richter signed with the Union back in 2011 after being selected in the supplemental draft out of La Salle University. He didn’t appear in a league match for the Union in his one season with the club but did score a goal in a 5-3 win over Harrisburg City Islanders in a friendly. He played for Charleston Battery, Toronto FC and Ottawa Fury before returning to the area with the Steel earlier this year.
Jones (aka Derrick Amaniampong) starred with the Union Academy U18 team in 2013-14 and in the first part of the 2015-16 season.
A versatile player who is good both on the attacking side of the ball and at linking the defense to the midfield, Jones’ play has put him in line to sign a homegrown player contract with the first team, something that hasn’t happened since March 2012.