Nashville SC’s roster has boasted one player from the inaugural MLS season of Minnesota United practically from the beginning, and now it officially adds another. Midfielder Ish Jobe – who was a teammate of Justin Davis in Minnesota both with the NASL side and the MLS group – has signed to the first-team squad.
Jobe has been training with the Boys in Gold for a few weeks, and finally earned the opportunity to join the senior team. The news was first reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Here’s what reporter Megan Ryan had to say about him:
Jome played for the Loons their final season in the North American Soccer League before making the jump to MLS last year. The 23-year-old played in 12 games with seven starts as a utility player, slotting in at forward, midfielder and defender at times… [Since last season, he has] trialed at the New York Red Bulls and with Danish second-tier team Fremad Amager in Copenhagen.
Jome was not an NASL Best XI player in United’s final year in that league (Davis and current Loons star Christian Ramirez were Minnesota United’s only selections), in fact making just nine appearances in 32 games, five of them starts. In 496 minutes, he notched one goal and one yellow card.
The 23-year old Gambian grew up in the North Star State, but played his college ball at UC Santa Barbara. In three years with the Gauchos, he played in 56 games with 48 starts, tailing off over the course of his career in terms of playing time, but actually peaking as a junior with three goals and three assists in his career-low 16 appearances after being named to the preseason all-Big West Team as a wingback.
Oddly, he’s mostly a left back, which is the position that is manned by former MNUFC teammate Davis. Not a ton of time available there, given that Davis is one of three players (along with keeper Matt Pickens and defensive midfielder Michael Reed) to play every minute of the season. Maybe a chance at midfield? Simply providing depth? Rewarding a guy who’s been a valuable practice player? A potential move back to the 5-3-2 (at least as a changeup)?
Here’s the highlight reel from his college days:
A tall-skinny left back who’s comfortable cutting inside to shoot with the right but prefers shooting/crossing with the left is a skillset that NSC doesn’t have (and in a body type they didn’t have even when Taylor Washington was playing at that spot). He’s got good top-end speed but isn’t necessarily a quick guy, probably in part because he doesn’t have the muscle built up at this point. Similarly, there’s a lot of wasted motion with his skill dribbles – effective though they may ultimately be – in part because he lacks the muscle mass to smoothly move all the length in his limbs.
Other than showing the top-end speed – which takes him a sec to build up to – to catch up with runners, he doesn’t have a ton defensively on the highlight reel. Could be more of a depth signing at left midfield and a project to mold into a more well-rounded player long-term.
At the youthful age of 23, he has the ability to develop into a legit USL talent. Probably not one who makes an MLS jump (barring very rapid and sizable improvement), but one who can be a rotation player.