Goal.com caught up with former U.S. star Thomas Dooley and the German-American gave his thoughts on Jermaine Jones deciding to join the U.S. National TeamJermaine Jones’ decision to play for the U.S. caught many people a bit off-guard.
“That would be perfect, to have this guy here, but I just can't believe he can (join the U.S.),” is how Thomas Dooley reacted when he heard the news from Goal.com’s Andrea Canales.
And why wouldn’t it come as a surprise? Until recently there wouldn’t have been any thoughts about a veteran player switching allegiances. It just wasn’t possible. But FIFA’s rule change, which allows a player who is not cap-tied to a country to make a one time switch regardless of age, has given Jones a chance to play for the U.S., and just in time too.
With the World Cup coming up quickly, and the U.S. showing signs of vulnerability, the addition of a legitimate star in the middle of the field is welcomed with open arms by most people who wish the Red, White and Blue well, including Dooley.
“He's the kind of player that we need,” the former U.S. star said of Jones. “He's a very aggressive player, a midfield player. He's something that everybody needs in the sort of role that I played.”
Dooley has a unique perspective on Jones’ situation. Born to a German mother and U.S. military father, Dooley was brought up in the German system much the same as Jones and chose to represent the U.S. at the international level.
Despite being in his thirties before joining the U.S. National Team, Dooley went on to earn over 80 caps and captain the team in the 1998 World Cup.
Dooley joined the U.S. in the build up to the 1994 World Cup and immediately became one of the stalwarts of a team that made a shocking run to the round of 16. Now, 15 years on, the U.S. could once again reap the benefits of Germany’s highly competitive system.
“Everything about soccer in Germany is totally different,” the 48-year-old said before explaining that the pressure on players in Germany is much more intense. “Here in America, you have a bad game, hardly anybody cares. In Germany, they're going to rip you up. The pressure and the whole excitement of the game, he will miss that.”
Jones’ reputation as a hothead proceeds him, and it may have been just that pressure that helped him decide to join up with his father’s home country. No matter what the reasoning, the former Frankfurt captain will bring an edge with him when and if he steps on the field for the U.S.
Unfortunately, U.S. fans will have to wait quite some time before Jones can join up.
According to U.S. Soccer, the new rule eliminating the 21-year-old restriction will not go into effect until October 1, leaving Jones ineligible to represent the U.S. in their summer regional competition, the Gold Cup. However, he could be available for the final two matches of World Cup qualifying, which are games against Honduras and Costa Rica.
Allen Ramsey, Goal.com, with special reporting from Andrea Canales.
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