Pole Position – Charlotte signs third Polish player, also acquires midfielder Derrick Jones
In the effort to bolster its offense, Charlotte FC has inked its second Designated Player, 23-year-old winger Kamil Jóźwiak from English Championship side Derby County. It was no secret that Charlotte coveted the wing player.
"He’s only 23 and he already has 22 games for Poland," sporting director Zoran Krneta told MLSsoccer.com. "He has played in big games, he played in the Euros. He played against Spain and Holland. Can you play in Salt Lake City if you played against Holland? I think you can."
The newest MLS side had a loan deal with Derby ready to go a month ago but that fell through when Jóźwiak was injured in a match. He had played 20 games this season before the injury and 61 appearances in all competitions for Derby since joining the club in September 2020. His recovery has been faster than originally expected, leading to an outright purchase rather than the loan.
His injury coincided with the news that a deal for Venezuelan international Darwin Machis, also a winger, who plays for Granada in Spain's La Liga fell through due to legal complications, leading to coach Miguel Angel Ramirez's infamously blunt "We're screwed" statement.
When asked about his eventual signing, Ramirez was more subdued, "Everyone that we can sign to improve the level of the team and to increase the depth is always good news."
He won't see the pitch anytime soon as he's still recovering and in the process of getting his work visa and international transfer certificate approved.
Coincidentally, or perhaps not, he is a teammate of Charlotte's first DP, Karol Świderski on the Poland National team where he has earned 22 caps and scored three goals. Jóźwiak started all three matches for Poland in last summer’s UEFA European Championship and played eight of 10 in this World Cup Qualifying cycle. Defender Jan Sobocinski is the third Polish national team player on Charlotte’s roster.
Coming up through the junior levels at Lech Poznań, Jóźwiak has represented his country at every level from U16 to U21.
Current FC Bayern Munich and Poland star Robert Lewandowski scored 32 goals in 58 matches with Lech Poznań from 2008 to 2010 before leaving to Borussia Dortmund. Jóźwiak assisted Lewandowski on Poland's goal in a 1-1 draw with Spain in the 2021 Euros first round.
Charlotte fans will soon learn the realities of having national team players on their roster. The upside is their quality. The downside is that MLS rarely stops play for the international windows for World Cup qualifying games or continental championships meaning they will miss games along the way. Poland is competing for a spot in the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The Polish team recently made news after refusing to play its next WCQ match which was to be against Russia.
Charlotte also acquired midfielder Derrick Jones from the Houston Dynamo in exchange for general allocation money and a percentage of any future transfer fee outside of MLS.
Jones played 20 matches and started 14 for Houston last season and has appeared in 64 total regular season matches with Houston, Nashville SC and the Philadelphia Union. He is a former U.S. youth international and played four matches in the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup where the Americans advanced to the quarterfinals.
When asked about Jones, Ramirez said, "He will increase the physicality. I always said we need to protect the players that have more control on the ball and more quality players. We need to protect them, especially in this league with this physicality. He can add this protection and physicality that we are missing right now in the midfield."
Charlotte plays at Atlanta United on Sunday. Game time is 4:30pm and will be nationally televised on FOX Sports 1 network.