Leon Jones’ wanderlust shows no sign of abating.
The 23-year-old defender has only just returned from four formative years in the U.S., embracing his studies and sporting endeavours at the University of Kentucky.
Jones’ performances Stateside were sufficiently impressive to earn a trial period with Dunfermline and, having dazzled boss Peter Grant, the ex-Hearts youngster penned a one-year contract this week.
However, he is not ready to put his passport away just yet.
Jones is eligible to play for either China or Hong Kong — the latter managed by former Dundee United and St Johnstone striker Mixu Paatelainen — through his mother’s side of the family.
And, having represented Scotland at various youth levels, he is now ready to consider a switch of allegiances, should he shine with the Pars.
“My mum is from Hong Kong and her parents were born in China,” he said.
“But growing up, I was fortunate enough to be involved with the Scotland youth sides through 15s, 16s and 17s — so I’ve always played for Scotland. I was born in Scotland and my dad is Scottish.
“It’s only recently I’ve really considered what might happen if the opportunity to play for Hong Kong or China arose.
“If that did happen, it’s something I would definitely talk about with my family and be quite eager to do.”
That willingness to embrace new adventures and frontiers was illustrated in 2017 when Jones, just 19 years of age at the time, accepted a scholarship in Lexington, Kentucky, following trials organised by FirstPoint USA.
Jones even turned down a one-year extension with Hearts to pursue an American Dream which would prepare him for the future, regardless of whether he made the grade as a professional or not.
“It was a big, life-changing decision,” recalled Jones. “I had never been away from my family and I had to commit for four years. I’m not the type of person to think: ‘If I don’t like it, I’ll come back after a year.’
“I did a degree in chemical engineering and minored in mathematics. My mum was always really big on my education!
“I wanted to do something I knew would be worthwhile and, if I had to use it, then I could. Chemical engineering really fit that category. A very small number of players do make it, so it is good to have that fall-back.
“But the number one priority for me was always to become a football player.”
As he gained his qualifications, Jones turned out for the Kentucky Wildcats, helping them win an unprecedented league and cup double in the 2019 College soccer leagues.
“People might say ‘oh he’s been away in America for four years’ and not look at the standard favourably — without actually watching any games over there,” said a determined Jones.
“I wouldn’t come here if I didn’t think I was good enough to play. I want to contribute to the team and a successful season.”
His arrival at East End Park is rather less of a leap into the unknown for Glasgow-born Jones, particularly given the presence of his former Tynecastle teammate — and immediate Pars fans’ favourite — Nikolay Todorov
“I played with Nikolay at Hearts — he was a young boy there at the same time as me and I got to know him quite well,” added Jones. “We both stayed in digs in Edinburgh.
“There was a lot of grabbing and shirt pulling in those training sessions!
“It’s really good when to have someone you know before from your time in Scotland. It certainly helps me settle in.
“Nikolay has spoken really highly of Dunfermline and told me: ‘This is a club going in the right direction.”
And that direction will culminate in Premiership football if boss Peter Grant has his way.
Jones said: “The gaffer has constantly spoken about his aspirations for the season — he wants to win every game; he wants to win the league; he wants to dominate teams and basically batter teams so that they are begging to come off the field.”