Zyen Jones’ journey back to European football has not been an easy one, but he’s grabbing his second opportunity with both hands.
The 20-year-old attacker signed with Hungarian champions Ferencvárosi TC ( Fradi) during the coronavirus pandemic in October.
Finding a new club during lockdown was not easy, but Zyen, from Dallas, Texas, persevered and managed to impress coaches during a trial.
It was his second time in Europe after a spell at German club Schalke 04 in 2018.
Zyen told Player Impact: “Covid was a big impact on finding a team because of the many restrictions it put on travelling outside of the country and also because of safety concerns for other players a lot of teams were not willing to take the risk especially in the beginning stages of Covid the whole world was in a big panic.”
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Ferencvárosi have won the domestic league title 31 times and are currently hunting a third straight championship, after winning back to back titles in the last two seasons.
They also qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage this season and faced European heavyweights Barcelona, Juventus and Dynamo Kyiv.
Zyen has quickly settled into life in Hungary and has been impressive for the Fradi reserve team. He hopes to break into the senior squad in the future.
He added: “When I signed for Fradi I was very happy and fortunate to have the opportunity to play at such a great club with its amazing history and then them also qualifying for Champions League the same year was something big for the future of the club.”
Zyen said: “I’m pretty settled in here I love the country and the team I have amazing teammates who are very welcoming and supportive.
“Europe, in general, is different from the US and plus me growing up in a Jamaican household it’s a completely different culture here for me I haven’t been able to explore Hungary so much yet due to lockdown but even on lockdown I think it’s a fantastic country and Budapest is an amazing city.”
Many young players have found it difficult to find new clubs during the lockdown but Zyen said they should not become disheartened.
He added: “My advice to young players is to follow your dreams.
“Nothing is impossible and if you work hard enough the results will follow no matter how much time it takes it will come just be patient and love what you do.”
Zyen, whose father Kevin is Jamaican, is a former Under-19 and Under-20 USA international.
He previously played Major League Soccer (MLS) as a youth for Atlanta United Academy in the USA before joining Bundesliga German first division team Schalke.
He then returned to Charlotte Independence in the United Soccer League (USL), but kept his options of returning to Europe open.
Despite playing for the US at the youth level, Jones is still eligible to represent the country of his father’s birth and is open to the idea of playing for Jamaica.
For now, Zyen is focused on succeeding with Fradi, he said: “My hopes for the future is to enjoy football whenever my future leads me right now I’m focused on the season and winning with the team.”
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