According to The Athletic, former United States Men’s National Team player Jermaine Jones (age 41) will join Central Valley Fuego FC of USL League One as their new head coach. The move, scheduled for November 1 according to the reporting, marks Jones’s debut as a senior team’s head coach.
Jones’s coaching career follows after a lengthy playing career. He made his debut with Eintracht Frankfurt’s senior team in 2001 in the 2. Bundesliga. While Jones had a stint with Bayer Leverkusen, he is largely remembered for his time with Schalke 04. Over the course of 7 years, he made 185 overall appearances with a Schalke team that were regulars in the UEFA Champions League, scoring 10 goals. After Schalke, Jones played with Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League and Beşiktaş of the Turkish Superliga, before coming to MLS. He played 4 seasons in the league, spread between the New England Revolution, Colorado Rapids, and LA Galaxy. Jones finally retired in 2020 after appearing with the indoor team, Ontario Fury.
Jones is also regarded as one of the most talented midfielders in the history of the USMNT. Jones, who was born and raised in Germany, originally part of the German youth program, even making 3 appearances with the senior national team. However, Jones was eligible to represent the United States through his father, who was serviceman stationed in Germany at the time of Jones’s birth. With Jones clearly out of the plans for the German national team, Jones became one of the first players to use a FIFA rule change that allowed players to change their eligibility to another national team if they had only made youth appearances and/or non-competitive appearances with the senior team. Jones declared his commitment to the United States program in 2009. He would go on to make 69 appearances and score 4 goals, including a stunning strike at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Central Valley Fuego FC, based in Fresno, California, had their debut season in the USL League One, the third division, just this year. However, their start did not go as planned, with the team finishing last, a full 20 points out of the playoff spots. Jones will be filling a spot that has been vacant since July, when then-coach Martin Vasquez was dismissed.
While this will be Jones’s debut as a head coach, he does have some coaching experience. He was a youth coach with Real SoCal before joining the USMNT U-19 program as an assistant.
What do you think about the move? What kind of coach do you think Jones will prove to be? Drop us your thoughts in the comments section!