New England Soccer Today

Best Yet to Come for ‘100%’ Jones?

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – In a sense, the Revolution aren’t just getting back the same Jermaine Jones that spurred them to a 9-1-1 regular season finish last year. They’re getting a healthier, and quite possibly, better version of him.

Meeting with the local media for the first time since undergoing sports hernia surgery last month, Jones said that he had to fight through the injury to stay on the pitch last fall.

“It was over a year now that I was playing with it,” Jones said. “I’m happy that the pain is (gone), and that (once) I come back on the field, I’m really at a 100 percent, because last season, I wasn’t at 100 percent. So I’m happy that I can play without pain.”

The 33-year-old midfielder said that the first time he noticed the pain was while he was playing in Germany for Schalke 04, and that he originally planned to have surgery following the 2014 World Cup.

But with his eye on playing in MLS following the tournament – one in which he shined for the U.S. – he put off the surgery again until after the MLS Cup final. Then, he got a call for U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann to invite him to the January National Team camp.

Once that camp concluded in early-February, Jones finally decided to have the surgery, especially with a potential work stoppage looming due to the protracted negotiations between MLS and the Players Union on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Although he was able to rehabilitate the injury close to his home in Los Angeles under the supervision of the U.S. Soccer medical staff, Jones admitted that it wasn’t easy being so far away from his teammates.

“I’d say the toughest part was to watch the games on the TV,” Jones said. “As a member of this team, you want to help them, you want to be there to try (to do) everything you can to get the points. You see (that) they lost games, and you know how everything worked last season, so I would say that was the hardest part.”

Now that the U.S. International is back in Foxborough, coach Jay Heaps said that the focus is on getting Jones re-acclimated to training with his teammates, and working on the ball.

“It’s good to have him back,” Heaps said. “At the same time, his recovery is just as important. He’s got a big year ahead of him, so it’s important that his body is in the right place (because) I don’t think it was ever there at the end of last year. So it’s good to get him there, and I think he’s closer to being 100 percent than he ever was with us (last year).”

Although Jones wasn’t fully healthy last year, that didn’t stop him from making a profound impact on the Revolution’s fortunes. Not only did the club jump from sixth place to second by season’s end, but they scored a league-best 11 postseason goals en route to their first MLS Cup final in seven years.

“He played through pain through all the fall,” Heaps said. “It was (about) managing the pain. I mean he’s a tough guy, and he can get through it, but I think when you look at what’s ahead for the summer, with the National Team and club team, he’s got a lot ahead of him, so I think (the surgery) was the right thing to do.”

While Jones’ absence from the squad was impossible to ignore during the club’s first three games – three games in which the Revolution haven’t found the back of the net – Heaps can’t help but look at the bigger picture with respect to the health of his prized midfielder.

“We would’ve liked to have gotten him back sooner, but we have to be mindful of what’s best for the player,” Heaps said. “I think, ultimately, a 100 percent Jermaine’s going to help us in the end the most.”

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