It’s been... interesting... following USMNT and Rapids midfielder Jermaine Jones. Let’s recap the Jermaine Jones Experience over roughly the last 12 months.
October 29: Jermaine Jones shoves Mark Geiger in a playoff game with the New England Revolution, drawing a red card and a subsequent six-game suspension for his next club team, where ever that maybe.
December 1: Jermaine Jones’ contract with the New England Revolution expires.
December 18: JJ expresses that negotiations with New England are not, shall we say, going well.
I would like to return to @nerevolution but they have offered me less than 20% of what I made last year.— Jermaine Jones (@Jermainejunior) December 19, 2015
According to the MLS Players Union, Jermaine made $3 million in 2015 for the Revs.
Jermaine spends much of the offseason instagramming photos with his family in LA.
March 4: Jermaine Jones rights are traded to the Colorado Rapids for GAM. His contract is later reported as $650,000, which the Rapids pay down with TAM to get it under the single-player cap.
March 6 - April 13: The Colorado Rapids play their first match of the 2016 season without Jermaine, losing 1-0 to San Jose. In their first six Jermaine-less matches, the team go 3-1-2 (WTL) for a surprisingly strong start to the year.
April 16: On a snowy night in Commerce City, Jermaine Jones Jr. debuts for the Colorado Rapids of America. In a match some dubbed ‘Snow Clasico II’, Jones scores a goal and records an assist on the way to a 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls.
April 24 - May 22: Jones plays in six matches for the Rapids, scoring 2 goals and recording 2 assists, while playing (surprisingly) as the central attacking midfielder. His aggressiveness in the high press is notable as well. The Rapids go 5-2-0 (WTL) in the matches JJ plays in.
June 3 - June 25: Jermaine is on duty with the USMNT in Copa America Centenario. During the tournament, he turns in a solid performance- harassing opponents into errors and scoring a goal in a 4-0 romp against Costa Rica. However, Jones does a bonehead thing in the quarterfinal match against Ecuador, getting into a scuffle with Michael Arroyo and putting his hands in the Ecuadoreans face, earning a straight red. Without Jones, Bobby Wood, and Alejandro Bedoya, the US gets absolutely destroyed against Argentina.
July 4: Jones starts in fellow USMNT player Tim Howard’s Rapids debut, a 0-0 draw against Portland at DSGP.
July 10: Jones is a late scratch against the Vancouver Whitecaps with a ‘leg injury’. By mid-August the injury is disclosed to be a knee ligament strain.
August 29: Despite not having even seen the training pitch with the Rapids in eight weeks, USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann calls JJ up to national team training camp in advance of a Friday, September 2 World Cup qualifier against St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Rapids fans are perplexed.
August 30-31: Jermaine is sent back to Colorado to continue recovering from his injury, another puzzling move. When asked, Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni says “I had spoken to Jurgen [Klinsmann] and he wanted to see where he was at, see if he could possibly contribute to the group. [Klinsmann] wanted him in and around the group and around their medical staff as well, who we’ve been in contact with. It’s an opportunity for him to go and for them to see where he’s at.” (HT to MLS’ Marco Cummings for the quote.)
To quote the Chinese proverb: ‘May you live in interesting times.’ Life with Jermaine Jones on the club is certainly interesting. The USMNT attention, the popular instagram feed, his incredible work rate on the field, his move from a career as a defensive midfielder to an attacking number ten: Jermaine makes life with the Rapids interesting.
Of course, the drama can also be seen as a distraction, and the price tag for a very part-time player is quite high. Additionally, we as fans, can’t tell whether Jermaine is 7 days, 7 weeks, or 7 months away from playing in competitive match.
Good or bad, the Jermaine Jones experiment has been a bit of a low-grade soap opera.
So, burgundy faithful, is all the distraction and the injury worth it - is JJ a catalyst to this team’s success? Or was this a Rapids team that was destined for greatness, and Jones is simply an expensive but unnecessary luxury?
Sound off in the comments.