MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. -- Jermaine Jones responded on Wednesday to United States teammate Tim Howard's comments that some foreign-raised Americans don't have the same commitment to the national team as others.
Howard, in an interview with ESPN FC, clarified his position a day after his quotes in a USA Today story caused a stir, saying that he was not referring solely to players born or raised overseas.
But the German-reared Jones, who Howard praised as "one of the heartbeats" of the U.S. squad since his 2010 debut, said the topic is a slippery slope.
"It's dangerous stuff where you have to be careful what you're saying," said Jones, who signed with the LA Galaxy on Wednesday after spending half a season alongside Howard with the Colorado Rapids.
"With all the respect for Timmy, I feel it's not if you're half American or full-American. It's more what you have in here [taps his chest].
"If you go on the field and you give everything for this country, then of course sometimes there's a situation where you're not playing good.
"But it's normal. That can happen to everybody, and that's what you have to understand."
German coach Jurgen Klinsmann was fired by U.S. Soccer in November, after the Yanks dropped their first two World Cup qualifiers of CONCACAF's final round.
Klinsmann recruited a number of dual nationals to the team, including Fabian Johnson and Julian Green. But the U.S. program already had long history of fielding American citizens from across the globe. So do many other countries, including World Cup winners such as Argentina, Italy, Germany and Spain.
"People, especially in this country, they always try to figure out what [are] the mistakes," Jones told ESPN FC, noting the contributions some German-Americans made during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"Now, where everything goes wrong and we lost the first two games, we say maybe the German-Americans are the problem.
"But when we played the World Cup, I scored. [John] Brooks scored, and it's 'oh, the German-Americans are American boys.'
"We played two bad games, yes. That's a fact. All the criticism that comes from outside, that's good. That's soccer. It has to be like that.
"But you have to see the bigger picture, and that's the whole team. There's not an American guy and a German-American. The whole team played bad, so that's the fact. To put it on this guy or this guy, I think it's not correct from nobody."