Steele with the New York Red Bulls, talking to head coach Mike Petke, 2013
|Full name||Jonathan Steele|
|Date of birth||7 February 1986|
|Place of birth||Larne, County Antrim, Northern Ireland|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|2004||Syracuse Salty Dogs||9||(1)|
|2005–2006||Rochester Raging Rhinos||18||(1)|
|2008–2009||Puerto Rico Islanders||49||(6)|
|2010–2011||FC Tampa Bay||10||(1)|
|2011||→ Carolina RailHawks (loan)||22||(0)|
|2012||Real Salt Lake||28||(2)|
|2013–2014||New York Red Bulls||48||(6)|
|Northern Ireland U16||13||(0)|
|Northern Ireland U17||7||(0)|
|Northern Ireland U18||3||(2)|
|Northern Ireland U19||13||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14:03, 13 July 2014 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Steele was raised in a Catholic family along with three brothers in the predominantly Protestant town of Larne, about 25 miles outside of Belfast. Steele often experienced religious violence and persecution resulting from The Troubles, including being attacked outside of a video rental store. Because of this violence, Steele's mother pleaded with him to leave home and the best opportunity to play football came from Wolverhampton Wanderers. After two years of not being able to make a break through with Wolverhampton, Steele was released after the 2002–2003 season. At the age of 18, he then decided to try to earn a contract elsewhere in Europe or with Major League Soccer of the United States of America instead of returning home to Northern Ireland.
Steele came to the United States in 2003, for an ultimately unsuccessful trial with the Dallas Burn of Major League Soccer. Instead, he signed with the Syracuse Salty Dogs of the USL First Division in 2004. and that fall, he joined the Kansas City Comets of Major Indoor Soccer League. He played thirteen games before the Comets placed him on the inactive roster to allow him to compete with the Northern Ireland U-19 national team. He returned to the United States in 2005 and spent the summer with the Rochester Rhinos. As the Comets had folded at the end of the 2004–2005 season, the Baltimore Blast selected Steele with the 26th pick in the Dispersal Draft.
Return to the United States
He won the 2006 MISL Championship with the Blast, and played for the Rhinos again in the summer of 2006. In the spring of 2007, he signed with the expansion Carolina RailHawks of the USL First Division. He was also the first pick of the expansion Orlando Sharks in the 2007 MISL Expansion Draft, but was traded to the Philadelphia KiXX in exchange for Gaston Pernia. Steele played seventeen games with the KiXX during the 2007–2008 MISL season, missing part of the season with a foot injury.
On 23 December 2009, Steele signed a one year contract with Vancouver Whitecaps. Steele, along with Whitecaps teammate Ricardo Sánchez, was transferred to league rivals FC Tampa Bay on 21 July 2010.
Major League Soccer
On 23 February 2012 Steele tweeted that he had joined Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer, a club from which he spurned a contract offer two years earlier in favour of joining the Vancouver Whitecaps. The signing was official on 24 February 2012. During his first season with the club, Steele made 28 appearances, including 11 starts, tallying two assists and scoring two goals including a stoppage-time game winner against Toronto FC on 28 April 2012.
Steele's option was declined by Salt Lake on 3 December 2012 as part of a salary cap issue, along with the trade and release of six other players, including starters Jamison Olave, Fabian Espindola, and Will Johnson.
After being released by RSL, Steele trained with Cliftonville F.C. of the IFA Premiership and was reportedly days away from signing for an unnamed League 2 club before being contacted by New York Red Bull's head coach Mike Petke. Steele signed with the Major League Soccer club on 20 February 2013 and solidified his spot in the starting line-up. Steele scored his first goal for the Red Bulls on 20 April 2013 in a 4–1 victory over the New England Revolution. In the same match, Steele tallied his second assist of the season on a goal by Thierry Henry. Steele ended his first season with New York making 36 official appearances and scoring 6 goals.
Steele and the Red Bulls mutually agreed to part ways on 10 July 2014.
Steele represented Northern Ireland from the Under-15 to the Under-19 level. In 2001, he was part of the Under-16 side that competed in the Victory Shield tournament against the other British nations. Steele earned three caps for the Under-19 side in the 2005 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship against Germany, Serbia and Montenegro, and Greece in Group A. The tournament was held in his native Northern Ireland but the hosts did not advance past the group stage. Steele was also a member of the U19 squad that competed in the 2005 Milk Cup and scored a goal against the United States during a 4–2 loss in the final.
In April 2013, following Steele's impressive performances with New York, Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill stated that he was monitoring Steele's progress and that he could receive his first call up as early as the next squad selection. Seven months later, Steele received his first call up to the senior squad for a friendly against Turkey to be played on 15 November 2013 in Adana after originally being left out of the squad again because of expected club commitments. This call up was the first time Steele was called into camp for Northern Ireland at any level since the 2005 Milk Cup.
Steele made his senior international debut for Northern Ireland in the match against Turkey, coming on as a 67th-minute substitute for Niall McGinn as Northern Ireland lost 1-0. In May 2014, Steele was again called up for the friendly away matches against Uruguay and Chile on 30 May and 4 June respectively as the opposition prepared for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
International career statistics
- As of match played 20 November 2013.
|Northern Ireland national team|
- Fuller, Marcus (14 February 2005). "Man of Steele:Comets midfielder's character was forged in midst of religious strife of Northern Ireland". Kansas City Star.
- "Jonathan Steele Profile". Vancouver Whitecaps. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- 2004 Syracuse Salty Dogs
- 2004–2005 MISL Stats
- MAJOR INDOOR SOCCER LEAGUE FINAL OFFICIAL REPORT – 2004-2005
- 2005 Rochester Rhinos
- 2006 Rochester Rhinos
- Orlando Sharks Draft League Standouts
- SHARKS TRADE FOR ALL-STAR DEFENDER GASTON PERNIA
- MAJOR INDOOR SOCCER LEAGUE DAILY REPORT
- Top USL-1 honors announced
- Whitecaps Sign Jonny Steele And Greg Janicki
- "Jonny Steele Returns to Railhawks". Our Sports Central. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "Steele Signed By Silver Knights". Major Indoor Soccer League. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "Silver Knights Transactions". Major Indoor Soccer League. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- https://twitter.com/#!/jonnysteele22[not in citation given]
- Lewis, Michael (8 March 2012). "Real Salt Lake: Jonny Steele has traveled a long road to". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "RSL declines contract options on 4 players". Real Salt Lake. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "Jonny Steele Profile". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- "Recap: Late RSL goal condemns TFC to 7th straight loss". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- Foster, Nial. "Jonny Steele in the limelight in Major League Soccer". BBC Sport. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "Red Bulls Sign Midfielder Jonny Steele". New York Red Bulls. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- Panizo, Franco. "New York Red Bulls 4, New England Revolution 1 | MLS match recap". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
- "Red Bulls mutually agree to part ways with Jonny Steele". New York Red Bulls. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- "Jets sign Northern Irish international". Football Australia. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
- "NI manager Michael O'Neill aware of Jonny Steele's progress". BBC Sport. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- "STEELE CALLED UP TO NI SQUAD". Irish FA. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- "Proud moment for Jonny Steele, as he earns first call-up to Northern Ireland national team". New York Red Bulls. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- "Irish mixup giftwraps for Turkey". ESPN. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- "Northern Ireland: Fresh faces in squad for Uruguay and Chile friendlies". Belfast Telegraph. 19 May 2014.
- Jonny Steele at National-Football-Teams.com