Jermaine Jones became the third former MLS player to sign with an MASL club. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
ONTARIO, Calif. – Former U.S. internationals don’t retire, they go onto play in the Major Arena Soccer League.
For the second time in several months, a west coast MASL team has signed a high-profile player as Jermaine Jones joined the club for the rest of the season.
Jones, 37, a take no prisoner’s defensive midfielder, made 69 appearances for the U.S. national team. He also performed for Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke 04 in the Bundeslgia and for the New England Revolution, Colorado Rapids and LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer.
As per team and league policies, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The San Diego Sockers recently signed former U.S. international Landon Donovan and the Tacoma Stars added Lamar Neagle, both former MLS players.
“We’re proud and excited to be continuing the trend of household names joining the MASL and our division,” Fury president Bernie Lilavois said. “When we can bring in a player like Jermaine, who was starting games in Major League Soccer less than 18 months ago and is a fierce competitor to this day, that speaks volumes about how far our sport has come. We can’t wait to see this American hero don the Fury crest and create lots of unforgettable memories for our fans.”
With his new club trailing the Tacoma Stars in the hunt for second place in the Pacific Division playoff picture Jones could not be heading to the Inland Empire at a more crucial time, as Ontario will need to be near-perfect over the course of its final five games to close out the egular season.
Born to a German mother and an American serviceman father in 1981, Jones lived in Illinois and Mississipi as a young child but grew up in the German state of Hesse and joined hometown club Eintracht Frankfurt as a teenager. He made more than 200 appearances for the first teams of Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen and FC Schalke 04 over 15 years.
Jones also suited up for Blackburn Rovers of the English Premier League in 2011 and Turkey’s Besiktas in 2014.
After representing Germany three times at the senior level and completing a one-time switch to the United States in 2009, the midfielder immediately became a regular under head coach Bob Bradley and only missed out on the 2010 World Cup due to injury. He continued to play a central role for the Americans, performing at the 2014 World Cup for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
“Having competed at the highest levels of global soccer, Jermaine adds a wealth of skill, drive and experience that any squad in the MASL would be lucky to have,” Fury head coach Jimmy Nordberg said. “Given we’ve lost a lot of very close matches against top-caliber opponents this season, signing such a seasoned veteran of the international game has the potential to make a huge difference for us down the stretch. This signing has us even more determined to keep battling for our city and our region. We’d love nothing more than for our fans to see Jermaine lead the charge for us in the postseason.”
The Fury visits Tacoma Stars, its direct rivals for the remaining Pacific Division playoff spot Friday, March 12. The team then returns to Southern California for another potential must-win fixture and the expected home debut Jones, a meeting with the El Paso Coyotes Sunday, March 24. Jones and Donovan are scheduled to clash when the Sockers visit the Inland Empire Thursday, April 4.