Player Profile: Jermaine Jones
Date of Birth: 3/11/1981
Height: 1.84m (6 ft 0 in)
National Team: United States, Germany
International Caps: United States: 69 (Germany: 3)
International Goals: United States: 4 (Germany: 0)
Unlike most American soccer players, Jermaine Jones was born in Germany to an American father and German mother. While he spent some time in the United States growing up, Jones moved back to Germany at a young age with his mother when his parents got divorced. It was in the land of his birth where he discovered his love (and talent) for the beautiful game.
In 1995, Jones joined Eintracht Frankfurt from his youth club, SV Bonames. He spent 5 years developing his game before making his first appearance for Eintracht Frankfurt II. During the 2000-01 season, Jones made 25 appearances and scoring an impressive 8 goals.
In 2001, his fine form for the second team saw him make the jump to the main squad. Jones would go on to make 46 appearances over the next two years, and despite being deployed mainly as a defensive midfielder but still managed to score 7 goals.
His excellent form with Eintracht Frankfurt caught the eye of Bayer Leverkusen. Jones made the move to Leverkusen ahead of the 2004-05 season. However, the move didn’t quite work out. He spent most of his time playing with Bayer Leverkusen II, although he did appear for the first team on 5 occasions. Six months after leaving Eintracht, he returned on a loan deal, making 14 appearances and scoring 3 goals over the rest of the season.
The deal was made permanent, and Jones was an Eintracht player once again at the start of the 2005-06 campaign. Jones did not appear much that year as he suffered a severe leg injury that required surgery, only returning for the last match of the season.
Once he was finally fully healed he began to get his career back on track. No longer a “young player”, Jones established himself as a dependable professional and a leader and was named captain of the squad in 2006.
Despite the leadership role and solid standing with the club, Jones made news in Frankfurt when he announced that at the end of the 2006-07 season that he would not be renewing his contract. This came after telling fans and management that he wanted to stay earlier in the season.
Needless to say, the board of directors and fans were not happy to see their club captain on a free transfer. But Jones left before the 2007-08 season, joining Gelsenkirchen-based club Schalke 04 on a three-year deal.
Jones quickly settled into life at Schalke, playing over 80 times in two seasons in all competitions for the German club before injuries struck again. He missed the entirety of the 09-10 season with a muscular hairline crack injury.
Despite being healed and ready to play at the start of the 2010-11 season, all was not well for Jones. He was not getting along with manager Felix Magath and was not getting regular game time as a result. The situation finally bubbled over when Jones was sent to train with the reserves and was put on the transfer list.
Jones spent the final 4 months of the 2010-11 season on loan in England with Blackburn Rovers. He made an instant impact, picking up the man of the match honors on his debut against West Bromwich Albion. Jones made 15 starts over the final months of the season.
At the conclusion of the loan deal, both parties were keen to make the deal permanent. However, an agreement could not be agreed, and Jones returned to Germany ahead of the 2011-12 season. Upon his return to Gelsenkirchen, Magath was gone and had been replaced by Ralf Ragnick.
Ragnick offered Jones a fresh start and the opportunity to earn his spot back. The move worked out for both men. Jones became a regular starter and an essential part of a Schalke team that consistently finished near the top of the Bundesliga table, even featuring regularly in the UEFA Champions League.
Jones would play a total of 185 times for Schalke 04, scoring 10 times, before moving on. That move came in January 2014, when he moved to Turkish giants Besiktas for a measly $220,000. Jones played only 10 games for Besiktas and left the club at the end of the season.
It was in the summer of 2014 that Jermaine Jones began his journey in Major League Soccer. He had wanted to play for the MLS club Los Angeles Galaxy due to his family having a home in Los Angeles. However, because of the challenges of the Major League Soccer player acquisition rules, Jones player rights were awarded to the New England Revolution.
In his first season in New England, Jones took the Revs to the 2014 MLS Cup Final. Ironically, the match was played in Los Angeles against the team he wanted to play for, the Galaxy. Jones and the Revolution were second best on the day, and the Galaxy took home the trophy.
The midfielder played two seasons in New England, playing 34 times and scoring 3 goals. Jones moved to the Colorado Rapids for the 2016 season, but injuries once again hampered his season. He appeared in just 9 games but scored 3 times.
Jones finally got his move to the L.A. Galaxy for the 2017 season, and he went on to make 20 appearances for the club. He had been out of contract since the end of the 2017 MLS season, and with his career winding down, Jones played 5 matches for the Professional Arena Soccer League club, Ontario Fury. He scored 10 goals in those 5 matches but canceled his contract with the club after the coach demanded that he come to practice, which went against a clause in Jones’s contract.
Overall, Jermaine Jones played 18 seasons of professional football across 4 countries. He played a total of 380 games and scored 30 goals. Jones made an impact in two countries, and while he wasn’t the best player of his generation in either country, he was an important player in both.
Initially, Jermaine Jones was headed towards an international career with Die Mannschaft. After playing a handful of times for Germany U20 and U21 teams, Jones was called into the German National Team and actually played in 3 friendly matches for Germany.
However, when it became evident that he was not in Joachim Low’s plans, Jones took advantage of a FIFA ruling allowing players to switch their allegiance. The rule enables players to switch national team one time if they have not played in any official FIFA matches – friendlies do not count.
The midfielder qualified for this switch through his American serviceman father. In October 2009, it was announced that he was cleared by FIFA to play for the United States. With that, his American international career began.
Jones and U.S. head coach Bob Bradley were hoping that he would be ready and available for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Unfortunately, as was a recurring theme throughout his career, he picked up an injury with Schalke and was unable to make his debut until after the tournament.
His debut was scheduled to be made in August 2010 in a friendly against Brazil, but he was forced to pull out of the squad before the match having aggravated his injury. Jones’ debut finally came against Poland in October 2010. In that game, Jones assisted Jozy Altidore’s game-opening goal. His first international goal came in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup against Jamaica. The United States ended the tournament as runners up. In January 2012, Jones was given the honor of captaining his national team for the first time in a 1-0 friendly win over Venezuela.
Much was made about the United States going into the 2014 World Cup. The team was coming off the success of the 2010 World Cup and had World Cup Veteran, Jurgen Klinsmann in charge. Then the draw came. The United States was drawn in the tournament’s “Group of Death” with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana – the team that had knocked them out of the previous World Cup. Still, the U.S. squad boasted several experienced players such as Tim Howard, DeMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley and captain Clint Dempsey.
Jones started and played a full 90 minutes in a 2-1 win over Ghana to open the tournament. He started and played an important role in the United States’ second group stage match against Portugal. Down 1-0, Jones scored a stunning 25-yard curler past Portuguese keeper Beto.
The Americans would end up drawing that match and losing to Jones’ native Germany. However, they would still advance to the knockout round. Jones played in all 4 games for the United States in the 2014 World Cup, as they were eliminated in the next round of the tournament.
The midfielder was a part of the 2016 U.S. team that played at the Copa America Centenario, which was played in the United States. He scored in a group stage match against CONCACAF rival Costa Rica and was named Man of the Match for his performance. Jones was the highest-rated player for the U.S. during the tournament, in which the U.S. finished 4th.
After the Copa America in 2016, Jones appeared just four more times for the U.S., with his last cap coming in March of 2017 in a World Cup qualifier against Panama.
Jermaine Jones was not part of the United States national team for an extended period of time, yet he acquired a high number of caps given the length of his international career. This is a reflection of how much he was respected and valued by the managers he played under.
He leaves a legacy in the United States as the best of the batch of dual-nationals from that period, which also includes fellow German-Americans, John Anthony Brooks and Fabian Johnson among others.
Where is Jermaine Jones Now?
Jermaine Jones isn’t slowing down now that his playing career is over. Jones owns a company called Define Group. The company offers many services. One of the services is the “performance lab” which sells packages of fitness classes, exercise clothing, and prepaid healthy meals. The other service the company provides is a “concierge service” that sets up nights out on the town in Los Angeles for famous soccer players visiting from Europe.
Also, Jones has recently earned his U.S. Soccer B coaching license and UEFA A license. He has indicated that he would like to get into coaching in the future.
Did You Know?
– Jones was married to Sarah Gerth Jones, a former Miss Germany pageant winner
– Jones owns an 18-acre farm in Southern California.