Whenever a European club visits the United States, you can be sure the top players on the team will be asked if they would ever consider playing in Major League Soccer.
It was no different when Schalke and the Philadelphia Union held a press conference ahead of their friendly at PPL Park on Wednesday. As the German club's player representative, Jermaine Jones - a U.S. international who grew up in Germany - had to answer the question.
Like many before him, Jones hinted that MLS could be in his future.
“I definitely want to continue to play high-end, high-level soccer in Europe or Germany,” Jones said through a translator. “But we’re looking into the United States in terms of possibly moving here. I’ve looked with my family for homes in LA, so we’re definitely interested to possibly move into this direction professionally, but also not right away.”
Jones is suggesting he would like to retire in Hollywood, and he's not the first and won't be the last to have the idea of playing out his career in MLS. Following in the footsteps of David Beckham and Robbie Keane, the 30-year-old midfielder could make a few million dollars while leaving the European spotlight.
Meanwhile, MLS continues to bank off having European clubs visit and Jones believes more Bundesliga teams will make the trip due to the number of American players in Germany.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who is a soccer legend in Germany, has called in several German-born players since his hiring last summer - including Jones, Danny Williams, Timothy Chandler, Fabian Johnson and Terrence Boyd, all of whom play for German clubs.
“Since several American players are in the Bundesliga and with Klinsmann as national team coach, I definitely see more of a connection there and the possibility for German teams coming here,” Jones said.
Schalke's coach Huub Stevens doesn't understand why more Bundesliga clubs are taking the opportunity to market their brand in North America.
“Coming to America itself is already an incentive,” Stevens said. “It’s great to be here. The other teams in Europe have a lot of German players, so I don’t see why teams like Bayern Munich wouldn’t be able to come here. I don’t see why that wouldn’t be happening.”