Malcolm Jones is feeling right at home with his new club and enjoying the ride to the Development Academy Championship game. Starting on the Galaxy defense in his first season with the club, Jones and his teammates defeated Chicago Magic PSG 3-2 on Thursday night in its semifinal match for the chance to play for in the championship game Saturday in StubHub Center, the Galaxy’s home field.
“It feels good to be moving on. It was a good win,” Jones said. “It was kind of back and forth, not really what we intended, but we battled through it. I thought the team showed a lot of perseverance. It was a solid overall performance. Everybody worked hard for each other and we were able to get the end result.”
The championship features the Galaxy against Real Salt Lake AZ, which beat Strikers FC 4-1 in the other semifinal match. The Galaxy has played RSL AZ twice already this season, with each team winning on its home field. Jones is banking on home-field advantage to prove the difference again.
“The fact that it’s here at our home, we have the chance to win it in our stadium in front of all our fans,” Jones said. “You don’t want to lose at home. You take pride in protecting your house. This is our home, so whoever we play in final we are going to play them tough and look to win.”
The success experienced with the Galaxy is just part of what Jones loves about the club. The environment has lent itself to a very welcoming feeling through Jones’ first season.
“I’ve enjoyed everything about the organization as a whole,” Jones said. “It’s really organized and professional. The opportunities they give you to meet first-team players and coaches, be at the games, it’s really close-knit down from the first team to the Academy. It’s like a family. It’s together.”
Jones has dedicated plenty of hard work toward his ultimate goal of becoming a professional player. That hard work has its rewards, as Jones has participated multiple times in various Youth Natonal Team camps. He values the high level of soccer and friendships that come with wearing the U.S. jersey.
“The National Team is fun,” Jones said. “I’ve made friends from all over the country. They’re the types of relationships that are life-long. I feel like I’m going to be friends with those guys forever. It’s nice to see those guys and it’s a higher level when you’re there, so it’s nice to challenge yourself and see if you can compete with them. And I think I can.”
Experiences like National Team camps and playing for the Development Academy Championship will help Jones fulfill his full potential. Playing at the highest level and among those who push each other will bring out the best in Jones.
“Playing with these types of players who have the same goals, these are all good, talented players, it helps you when you go to that next level,” Jones said. “You feel like you can fit right in and play with those players, who are the best.”
There is plenty of growth and a wealth of big moments left for Jones in his soccer career, and one of those awaits Saturday night as he and his teammates try to become national champions.