The New England Revolution got a major boost when they acquired Jermaine Jones on Sunday.
Jones, 33, is en route to Foxborough after the league conducted a blind draw between the Revolution and the Chicago Fire for the former Schalke 04 and current U.S. national team midfielder’s services.
“I’m very excited to come to MLS and join the Revolution,” Jones said in a statement. “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. Playing with the U.S. National Team has given me a great connection with the American fans and I’m looking forward to playing in front of them every weekend. I’m ready to get started with the Revs.”
Terms of the deal, which made Jones a designated player signing, were not disclosed, per MLS and club rules. However, ESPN analyst Alexi Lalas reported on Sunday that the deal is worth $4.7 million for 1 1/2 years.
The 14-year veteran has spent the bulk of his career in the German Bundesliga, where he made his name as a gritty, yet technically gifted central midfielder. He most recently played for Turkish side Besiktas before expressing his desire to play in MLS.
At the international level, Jones has earned 43 caps with the United States, scoring three goals -- the most memorable being the blast he uncorked against Portugal during the 2014 World Cup. He was a member of Germany’s youth national teams, but a recent change to FIFA’s rules allowed the Frankfurt-born midfielder the opportunity to make a one-time switch to the U.S., where his father is from.
Jones will join a side in desperate need of a midfield general after starting defensive midfielder Andy Dorman suffered an MCL sprain last month, an injury that is likely to keep him out through September. Scott Caldwell and A.J. Soares both have manned the six spot in Dorman’s absence, but neither has been able to fortify a midfield unit that has struggled to hold the ball in recent weeks.
But the team’s struggles haven’t been limited to the possession scale. Over the course of their recent slide -- which has seen the team triumph only twice in its last 12 games -- the Revolution have averaged less than a goal per game (0.92). Jones’ ability to thread high-quality passes should allow the likes of Charlie Davies, Kelyn Rowe and Diego Fagundez to rejuvenate their form.
Of course, the world-class skills that Jones brings to the pitch only tell part of the story. Although he’s noted for collecting the occasional caution, the veteran midfielder brings leadership that the team certainly could use down the stretch. In a sense, Dorman’s injury was a one-two punch to the Revolution not only because of his solid play, but because of his ability to organize and rally his younger teammates.
“This is a great opportunity for us to add one of the best players in the United States to our club,” Revolution investor/operator Jonathan Kraft said in a statement. “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. When we learned that he was interested in signing with MLS, we immediately informed the league of our interest. He is a dynamic player and is certain to have a tremendous impact on our team and in our community.”
The Revolution currently sit in sixth place in the East with 30 points, one point short of making the playoffs. With Jones on board, the Revolution become an immediate favorite to book their ticket to the postseason for the second straight year.