Jonathan Lewis is ready to be more than a super-sub for NYCFC

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There is plenty that is going right in Jonathan Lewis’ life these days. He’s coming off a U.S. national team camp in which he provided an unexpected spark in two friendly matches, assisting on two of the five goals the U.S. scored. Last Saturday against Orlando City, the New York City FC winger started the match and provided an assist on Ebenezer Ofori’s goal. The 72 minutes he spent on the field matched the longest stint of his MLS career.

Yet there is a word that will dampen Lewis’ mood when uttered: super-sub.

“If it’s what’s best for the team, that’s what I want to do,” he said, his distaste for the label evident. “But I don’t really like the term, nor do I really agree with it.”

It’s not that Lewis doesn’t see value in the role, but like the term’s near cousin, “utility man,” there’s a not-ready-for-prime-time feel to the tag. That is what Lewis is trying to leave behind.8

“I think I can give more to the game, and I definitely have stuff to learn, but I think that for my development, the next step is for me to come out of that mold because for me I don’t think I would get better being a super-sub for the whole year,” he said.

For perhaps the first time in his career, there is agreement that Lewis is ready to take on more responsibility. Last month, in an interview with ESPN FC, sporting director Claudio Reyna noted how Lewis had matured and added a layer of accountability to his performances, not just in games but in the daily grind of training. Now after two years of being a bit-part player, Lewis is ready to contribute more. More importantly, he’s aware of how to get there.

“That’s one of the things I slowly started to learn. And the coaching staff says they see maturity in me now, they trust me. That was really just it. There’s a level of trust, and that’s why I’ve been thrown in again.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Lewis has long had a skill set that tantalized coaches and scouts, with his quickness and close control allowing him to prevail in one-on-one situations and unbalance opponents. It’s the kind of ability that saw him join Bradford City as a 16-year-old before homesickness hastened a return home. His skill could eventually translate into double figures in both goals and assists.

“Anytime you can find him isolated, he will normally beat his man down the line,” said U.S. U-20 manager Tab Ramos, who managed Lewis at the youth level. “His first four or five steps remind a bit of Cobi Jones, where he can lower his shoulder one way and just go the opposite way really quickly.”