At the beginning of the season, no one expected that this would be Jared Jeffrey’s breakout year. He was buried on the depth chart, behind Marcelo Sarvas and Nick DeLeon as well as Markus Halsti and Julian Buescher too. After starting a number of games after being acquired by D.C. United in 2013, Jeffrey had been buried and relegated to the Richmond Kickers over the past two years; it seemed like this season was poised to be a repeat of that.
But D.C. United specifically re-signed him for this season promising a larger role, and that larger role started to show itself in April. That is when he got his first start and throughout the course of the summer played in almost over game, starting most of them. Whenever Marcelo Sarvas was injured or suspended, or whenever other injuries forced Nick DeLeon into other positions, Jeffrey was there with a steady performance. Between that and Nick DeLeon eventually moving to right back, he climbed to the first choice off of the bench whenever someone wasn’t available in central midfield.
The move to the 4-2-3-1 also suited Jeffrey, allowing a more defensive midfielder to play alongside him. He has never been a defensive midfielder the way Perry Kitchen or Richie Williams were, and so having Sarvas or Rob Vincent nearby freed Jeffrey to do more forward passing and keeping the ball moving.
This spot-starter and substitute role is a good one for Jeffrey and a good one for D.C. United. He definitely took a step up in his performances this year, but a team like United should aim to have starters that keep Jared Jeffrey on the bench. If he can surprise us and surprise the midfield signings that United is likely to make, then the team will be all the better for it.
With all of that as prologue, we come to the question itself: do you want Jared Jeffrey back next season?