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Does Jermaine Jones Have a Future on the US Team?

Jermaine Jones

Many US fans have been rubbing their hands in anticipation of having Schalke’s Jermaine Jones playing under the red, white and blue.  The son of a German mother and American father has applied to FIFA to get his team designation switched from Germany to the US.  The holding midfielder is a tough tackler in the Bundesliga – a league of tough tacklers.  Consistent starters in major European leagues are a bit of a rarity on the USMNT, so when Jones decided to forsake the German team to throw his lot with the US, it was looked at as a real coup.

Unfortunately, Jones has been battling a bad injury curse.  He has a hairline fracture in his shin, which has prevented him from playing at all this season.  Word has come out of Germany today that Jones has not healed as they would have liked and may need further surgery.  If this is the case, Jones will not be kicking a soccer ball in a competive game for months.

All this raises more questions than it answers for Bob Bradley and the USMNT-

  • If there is one (and there may only be one) position where the US is not thin on options, it is in the center of the midfield.   Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Jose Torres, and Ricardo Clark are all good options for that enforcer role, and with Benny Feilhaber as the only true creative midfielder, Jones may bring additional salt to a stew that needs more spice.
  • Jones has never once played or practiced for the US at any level.  He played on the German U-21 team, and has not spent one moment training with US coaches.  Jones has the reputation as being a bit of a touchy guy (head-case maybe too strong, but not by much).  Knowing that Bradley will have only seen him in action via his television, can he really understand how to incorporate him into the scheme?
  • How is it realistic to think that Jones’ first touch in a competitive game for the US will come in South Africa next summer?  How can there be any understanding between Jones and his teammates without ever having played a competitive game before?

Many of these questions can also be raised about Edgar Castillo, who has recently been approved to switch his allegiance from Mexico to the US.  But at least Castillo will be allowed to train with the US next month and play in their last two WCQ games.  Beyond Castillo, some subset of the players that we have seen over the past several months are almost certain to be the team that flies to Africa next June.  It is hard to imagine a scenario where Jermaine Jones will be on that plane.

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  1. bryan

    October 1, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    B Bradley needs to take a giant step backwards and seek and take counsel. In general, the USMNT is not big or strong enough – we often get by on fitness and a bit of luck. For refference – I am assumming a 4-4-2 formation: I like Clark a lot, but he’s not a physical tackler. I like him in the Midfield out left and Holden out right. About Jermaine Jones: I have known of him since Frankfurt and have also caught games with him featured at Schalke 04. It’s been a long year for JJ. A good friend in Zurich with a good football IQ knows him well “He is a hot head who can do damage to both the other team and, bye means of yellows and reds, his own. Should he feature for the USA – they don’t have anyone with his quality, so yes, absolutely” JJ has that cetain quality that we call special. He sees the whole pitch and has a knack for creating space and playing thoughtfull balls into that space for good result. His prognosis is NO second surgery on the shin. He should be back in his trainers in 4 weeks. Give him `2 months to get match fit and he is ready again around December. The USMNT will have already qualified (or not) so there will be friendlies and inter squad play. B. Brad owes it to himself and the team and yes, US the fans, to at least give JJ a chance. If he does not, he runs the risk of nepotism – M Brad has been lack luster and looks to be a sound sub with Benny at this point in time. That is the giant back step I mentioned up front. M Brad is not doing well for club or Country. Light a fire under him or replace him. But yes, maybe he can rebound to his form of old? At the end of the day, I want to see Kyle Beckerman in the creative midfield role with Jones enforcing and holding behind him. That will shure us up and give us a fighting chance in South Africa.

  2. kofix5

    September 16, 2009 at 11:14 am

    From what I’ve read about Jones, he is that enforcer we need. Freeing up Bradley, Benny, or Adu to play A-Mid. Edu, Clark and Jones are great options for the Destroyer role.
    Edu is still recovering from knee surgery, Jones is regaining form after his injury, and Clark has been looking good. But that being said, we are going to need this guy come next summer and the sooner he can play/train with the team the better. He brings Big Show experience and has the talent to play with any team we are going to face in the group stages.
    Whether Coach B will bring him in remains to be seen. But we won’t know if he’s a good fit until we do.

  3. soccer goals

    September 15, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    I agree with Ryan. If he is healthy for practices and qualifiers, he should be included.

  4. DA in LA

    September 15, 2009 at 12:27 am

    Torres is not an enforcer. Bradley is an offensive midfielder playing out of position for the US.

    I think he’s a far better player than Clark. (Red card on Gattuso is an example of what he is lacking)

    Edu is another story – but he hasn’t exactly been playing much.

    That being said – no way Bradley gives him a decent shot. I mean, how long did Beasley play as a defender? That sums up Bradley

  5. Ryan

    September 14, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    If Jones can be ready by January, he needs to come to South Africa with us. He will have plenty of friendlies and practice time between then and the World Cup.

  6. Landis

    September 14, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    I agree with Jason, Torres is not an enforcer. The guy is 5’5″ and barely 140 lbs. That makes him the smallest guy on the USMNT; smaller than Adu, Beasley and Donovan.

  7. Rex

    September 14, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    ” Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, Jose Torres, and Ricardo Clark are all good options for that enforcer role, and with Benny Feilhaber as the only true creative midfielder,”
    I think Torres is closer to Feilhaber than he is to the likes of Clark, Edu, and Bradley.

    I really think Clark is really the only true ‘enforcer’ of the bunch. I personally would love to the USA central midfield include true 1 defensive enforcer and 1 offensive attacker instead of mixed bag we see game after game with Micheal Bradley. With our current roster, our only option for this type of lineup would be Clark and Donovan. I would love to see the day Bob Bradley ran with this lineup:

    Give Dovovan a free role and let clark stay back and break up plays.

  8. Jason

    September 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    I don’t reaaly think Torres is an “enforcer” as you have mentioned. I think he is more a left sided attacking option.

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