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- DOB November 3, 1981
- Age 32
- Place of birth Frankfurt, Germany
- POSITION Midfielder
- HEIGHT 6'0"
- WEIGHT 170
- U.S. CAPS 33
- CLUB Schalke 04
- TWITTER @jermainejunior (136K followers)
- Current ASN 100 Rank 9
- Previous ASN 100 Rank 7
Jermaine Jones, who earned three caps with Germany before applying for a onetime switch, was supposed to be a huge contributor to the United States national team at the 2010 World Cup. The aggressive, box-to-box midfielder with a penchant for hard tackles and a bit of a nasty streak was supposed to help lock down the middle of the field with Michael Bradley or Maurice Edu, allowing attackers a bit of freedom from their defensive responsibilities. That plan, however, didn't pan out as Jones missed more than a year—including the World Cup—recovering from a shin injury and a variety of related ailments.
Jones's American debut finally came three months after the World Cup during an October 2010 match against Poland. He delivered an assist to Jozy Altidore in the 2-2 draw and also played 90 minutes three days later in a dull 0-0 affair with Colombia. Although the central midfielders had trouble meshing, Bob Bradley continued to give Jones, Bradley, and Edu time both as a trio and as alternating pairs. The German-born midfielder started all six matches of the 2011 Gold Cup and was one of the team's best players throughout. He netted his first goal on June 19 against Jamaica and dedicated the tally to his American serviceman father, whose birthday fell on the day.
Under Jurgen Klinsmann, Jones's role continues to grow. He captained the Stars and Stripes in January 2012 matches versus Venezuela and Panama, and his partnership with Edu, Bradley, and Kyle Beckerman continues to mature. "[Klinsmann] knows how important I can be when I play like I do at Schalke. That and I can help the younger guys on the national team, like when I made it in the Genoa camp. It's why he trusts me to use my experience from my 10 years in the Bundesliga. The experience I have, I try to give it to the other guys," Jones said in an interview with ESPN.com.
The question is how much longer can Jones contribute? He turned 30 in November 2011, and although he doesn't show signs of slowing down, it's not hard to see injuries hitting him once again. Additionally, the younger generation of central midfielders—players like Jose Torres and Joe Corona—are making their cases for increased time. Jones will play a part in the 2014 cycle, probably a large part, but there is always a chance his role could tail off near the latter stages of qualifying and during the World Cup.—NOAH DAVIS
Klinsmann on Jones:
“Jermaine is a Champions League player. If you want to play there, then you have to be good. And he is good. Now, his temper is always something to discuss and we even make jokes about that in the locker room, but if he gets that under control then we have a very, very good player there. He has high energy and the opponents have a lot of respect for that guy.” (May 2012)
"Jermaine is a player that is always on the edge, and he plays that way, and he has to deal with that. If you play that kind of game, and you step over it, like he did—step over and step on it—then you have to deal with that.” (January 2012)
Noteworthy ReadsQ&A with Jermaine Jones (ESPN.com)
USMNT Midfielder Jones Sees Stateside Future (MLSSoccer.com)
Jones Showing He's Worth the Risk for U.S. Soccer (Fox Sports)