New England Soccer Today

Heaps a Fan of Jones’ Role in #USAvMEX

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It doesn’t happen often, so Revolution coach Jay Heaps is going take advantage of the bye week, and simply sit back and watch Jermaine Jones from a fan’s perspective this weekend.

Jones, who was called up by the U.S. Men’s National Team for Saturday’s CONCACAF Cup clash against Mexico, figures to be a central figure in the clash of North American titans. The Revolution midfielder has appeared for the U.S. 52 times, and his 53rd should be a memorable one with a spot at the 2017 Confederations Cup on the line.

“I’m thrilled that Jermaine was called in,” Heaps said. “Hopefully, he will play a big part of that game.”

But Heaps isn’t just rooting for his star midfielder just as a supporter, or even as a former National Team player himself. Hardly.

The Revolution coach also believes that the experience Jones will get from Saturday’s clash will only further bolster his credentials as a motivating presence, both on the pitch and in the locker room.

“When you talk about that leadership,” Heaps said, “and about experiences, and when a player like that on your team plays in that game, well, guys are going to feed off that and ask him questions about that game, and feel a part of that game because he’s there.”

Jones’ time with the National Team – which also included a starring role in last year’s World Cup – quickly made him a magnetic presence amongst his Revolution teammates. As such, it was no surprise that Heaps handed him the captainship earlier this season.

“That, in and of itself, is a leadership quality, and why he wears the captain’s armband along with Jose (Goncalves),” Heaps said. “We’ll, as a group, gain from that experience.”

Of course, Jones’ teammates aren’t the only beneficiaries of his international experience. Shortly after returning in August from a second sports hernia surgery that kept him shelved for two months, the Revolution midfielder was called up for a pair of friendlies against Peru and Brazil. He started both games, and when he came back to Foxborough, Heaps quickly noticed that his star midfielder was hungrier than ever.

“I think for him, he‘s a player that grew (and) was always at his best with the national team,” Heaps said. “He’s also playing better for his club team, and he really takes it to heart. He really takes it as a prideful thing, that’s what we want. You’ve seen an uptick, and he’s getting back to full fitness and full health.”

Even though the U.S. has a friendly against Costa Rica lined up for Tuesday, Jones is expected to be back with the Revolution at the start of next week – just in time to prepare for the club’s regular season home finale.

“You’re seeing him start to impose himself more on games,” Heaps said. “Hopefully, he does it again on Saturday, and we see it again in our game on the following Saturday.”

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