United States men’s national team stars making the move to Major League Soccer have traditionally been allowed to choose their team without league or allocation order interference.
That may not be the case for USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones. The 32-year-old German-born mid wants to play for Chicago, but The Sporting News is reporting that he may not get past New England.
And that’s a problem. Jones has apparently agreed to a contract figure with MLS in order to get him into Frank Yallop’s Fire, but New England wants him for their squad. Jones isn’t averse to New England, but would want more money to go there.
So there’s the rub.
As reported by Goal USA earlier this month, Jones rejected a two-and-a-half year, $6 million contract offer to join the Fire earlier this month, but negotiations with MLS continued, which opened the door for the Revolution to enter the conversation to sign the World Cup standout. Jones, who originally had desires to play in or closer to Los Angeles to be closer to his family, has chosen to accept the most recent MLS contract offer to play for the Fire, but sources tell Goal USA that MLS is not willing to guarantee that Jones would be sent to the Fire upon signing a deal.
That stance is a puzzling one considering how the acquisitions of U.S. national team starters and designated players have been treated in the past. U.S. regulars have traditionally signed with MLS knowing which team they were signing to play with. The same has applied to all of the designated players previously signed by MLS.
Why the league is handling Jones differently remains a mystery, but as things stand, Jones might wind up having to seek options in Europe if he and MLS can’t come to an agreement before the league’s roster-freeze deadline of Sept. 15.
Jones most recently played at Besiktas after stints at Schalke, Blackburn Rovers, Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen. The league plays loose with its rules, and needs to find a way to get Jones to his preferred destination.