The deepest position in the U.S. men's national team pool is about to get even deeper.
Schalke 04 midfielder Jermaine Jones has notified the German Football Federation that he intends to change national teams and plans to play for the U.S. national team. Jones is taking advantage of the new FIFA rule that allows players of any age to change national teams if they are eligible for multiple national teams and have yet to play in an official match for either.
Jones is hoping that FIFA will be able to rule on his application for a national team switch in time for him to play in some World Cup qualifiers. Lastly, Jones does speak English (though not fluently) and is excited about the chance to play for the United States.
So who is Jermaine Jones? He's a talented 27-year old who will easily be one of the best midfielders in the U.S. pool the minute he puts on a uniform.
A brash defensive midfielder who boasts incredible athleticism as well as a noted mean streak. The son of a German mother and American serviceman father, Jones made three appearances with the German national team, but all three matches were friendlies, meaning Jones can still change national teams.
From what I can remember about Jones' story, he didn't have much of a relationship with his American father, and considered himself completely German, but that attitude might have changed after getting effectively snubbed by the German national team despite being considered one of the best midfielders in the Bundesliga.
A fan favorite at Schalke for his fearless approach to the game, Jones will join a central midfield pool that also includes Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Maurice Edu, Benny Feilhaber and Sacha Kljestan. He could bring some much-needed bite to a midfield that could use some (if he is ready to play for the USA by then, Jones is definitely the type of player who could make a major impact vs. Mexico at Azteca.)
If you are wondering how the U.S. national team missed out on him in the first place he wasn't really an option before. Before he was 21, Jones was a German Under-21 player with German national team aspirations. He lost his U.S. eligibility when he turned 21 in 2002, but regained that eligibility when FIFA ruled that players could switch national teams at any age, rather than by the age of 21.
Jones' decision is the first of what could be a few that go in favor of the U.S. national team after FIFA's rule change. While the United States could lose out on Arturo Alvarez, who will likely be allowed to play for El Salvador, American-born Mexico Under-23 defender Edgar Castillo could also now make the switch from playing for Mexico to playing for the United States.