The U.S. National Team midfielder can finally move on from a tumultuous offseason that saw him move from the New England Revolution to the Colorado Rapids.
Jermaine Jones is finally home… sort of.
The U.S. international was introduced as the newest player for the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday afternoon at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. There, he said his new club represents a “whole package” that includes being close to Los Angeles, where his wife and five children live, a soccer specific stadium to play at and plenty of new young faces in the squad.
Still, the “package” he refers to also includes playing for a team that hasn’t reached the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, a challenge the 34-year-old midfielder is looking forward to take head on.
“[Those] who know me, know that I love to take challenges,” he said during his first press conference for the Rapids. “This [move] gives me that motivation to push more and come back and show people.”
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From a Rapids standpoint, Jones’ addition is a no-brainer as the team has struggled to fill the void left by Pablo Mastroeni in 2013. The veteran defensive midfielder, known for his strong tackling and box-to-box running, is more than a worthy replacement for Mastroeni, who is now the team’s head coach.
“Jermaine’s record for club and country speaks for itself,” said VP of Soccer Operations Paul Bravo in the press release announcing Jones’ signing last week. “He has the ability, versatility, experience and leadership skills to improve our young side.”
For Jones, the change represents a major improvement in his quality of life, both on and off the field.
The U.S. star joined the New England after his participation in the 2014 World Cup and went on to help the team reach the MLS Cup that year. Still, through the 2015 season it was reported that he’d take trips home to LA to see his family and return less than 48 hours later to train. He was also unhappy with the Revolution’s turf field at Gillette Stadium, a place they share with the New England Patriots.
“You have a real soccer stadium,” he said of the Rapids’ set-up in Commerce City. “Boston was completely different. You have a turf field where it’s tough to play and you have to share the whole stadium.”
“You don’t feel really home. It was a big part of why I wanted change,” he added.
Now with the Rapids, Jones is looking forward to play in real grass and in a stadium he can call home.
“It’s always nice and you feel respected, not only me but the whole team,” he said. “You know that’s your own stadium and every week it’s home.”
Rapids fans will have to wait to see their newest star take the field, however, as Jones is serving a six game suspension. The midfielder was severely punished for making contact with referee Mark Geiger as the Revs crashed out of the playoffs last season against D.C. United.
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Jones is expected to start training with his new team at the end of March, before they take on Toronto FC.
The new-look Rapids started the 2016 season with a 1-0 loss against the San Jose Earthquakes.