Sunday, the New England Revolution announced that the club added U.S. Men's National Team star Jermaine Jones, 32, to the roster as a designated player via a "blind draw." In that draw, MLS Commissioner Don Garber selected the name of the Revolution from an envelope, which contained the name of only one other interested club, the Chicago Fire, which had originally pursued Jones.
According to ESPN, Jones will earn more than $4.5 million in an 18-month deal.
Jones had expressed a preference to play for the Fire, who have a natural grass stadium and where he has ties. But in another one of Major League Soccer's heretofore unknown odd rules, as a designated player of a "certain threshold," Jones was not subject to allocation ranking for dispersal to an MLS team.
"The Chicago Fire Soccer Club has pursued Jermaine Jones as a free agent signing over the past month and a half, and have gone to great lengths to bring him into Major League Soccer and our organization," said Chicago Fire Head Coach and Director of Soccer Frank Yallop. "We thought that he'd be a great fit in Chicago. While we're deeply disappointed that he will not be a part of the Fire, we respect the system employed by MLS and wish Jermaine well with his new club."
Jones was one of the USMNT's outstanding performers at 2014 FIFA World Cup this summer. He was one of the USA’s break-out stars in Brazil and played every minute of the USA’s four matches in 2014 FIFA World Cup. Jones debuted with the U.S. National Team in October 2010 and has earned 46 caps and scored three goals.
Jones comes to play in the U.S. after a 14-year career in Europe. Born in Germany and raised in Chicago, Mississippi and Germany, Jones played most of his professional career in Germany with Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen and FC Schalke 04, in addition to stints with England’s Blackburn Rovers and, most recently, Turkey’s Besiktas.
“I’m very excited to come to MLS and join the Revolution,” Jones said. “New England is an exciting team on the rise, and I believe I can come in and help the team make a push toward MLS Cup.”
Jones has been a key player in the USMNT’s midfield under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, although his career could have progressed with the German national team as he is a dual citizen. After playing in Under-21 games for Germany, Jones was originally identified by German head coach Joachim Löw and called in for European qualifiers against Cyprus and Wales in the fall of 2007, but injuries prevented Jones from joining up with the team. He later appeared in three friendlies in 2008 and 2009 before petitioning FIFA to switch his international eligibility and play for the United States. His petition was approved in October 2009.
The injury that kept him out of club play in 2009-10 also prevented him from playing with the USMNT for most of 2010, and he made his U.S. debut on October 9, 2010, in a friendly against Poland in Chicago and picked up an assist on Jozy Altidore’s goal. Jones made 11 appearances in 2011, including six starts in the U.S.’ run in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
In 2013, Jones made a career-high 12 appearances for the United States, and started seven matches in the squad’s final round of World Cup Qualifiers. This year, Jones has made seven appearances, including four starts at the World Cup. In addition to his goal against Portugal, Jones also recorded the assist on Clint Dempsey’s goal against Ghana in the U.S.’ opening match of the World Cup.
“We thought Jermaine was the best player for the U.S. in the World Cup and we are excited to welcome him to New England," said Revolution investor/operator Jonathan Kraft. "Robert and I have always said that any major DP signing would need to make an impact, on and off the field, and we believe the addition of Jermaine will do just that. When we learned that he was interested in signing with MLS, we immediately informed the league of our interest.”
Jones will be added to the Revolution's’ roster upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate.