Jermaine Jones is a man without a club. And due to a six-game suspension that will follow him wherever he goes, his prospects are looking less than promising.
In an MLS playoff game on Oct. 28, the New England Revolution were down one to DC United with less than two minutes of extra time remaining. A perfect lead pass landed on Jones’ foot, then ricocheted off DC defender Sean Franklin’s forearm. A hand ball in the box, and no call.
Jones was frustated, storming up to referee Mark Geiger to dispute the no-call. Jones received a yellow card. He persisted. Red card. Then Jones grabbed Geiger’s shoulder: six-game suspension.
Jones says he wants to return to the MLS this season, or head over to Europe and play in his former home of Germany, in the Bundesliga, but the suspension is proving to be an impediment in negotiations.
“If you have a player with six games suspended, it’s tough to bring him in,’’ Jones told the Associated Press, via Comcast Sportsnet. “Then you have (only) maybe 10 games (left).’’
Jones earned just over $3 million dollars with New England last season, but has stated that the Revs have offered him “less than 20 percent’’ of what he received last season. However, leaving U.S. soil won’t free him of his suspension. FIFA regulations require suspensions to apply to across leagues.
The 34-year-old made 19 appearances for the Revs last season, missing some time while recuperating from several hernias.
Once Jones is under contract with a club, the suspension would also be valid for U.S. national team games, but because he is unsigned at the moment, he is eligible to play in the U.S. team’s friendlies against Iceland Sunday and Canada on February 5th.
If Jones signs with an MLS team, the suspension would extend into the month of April, making him unable to play in two World Cup qualifiers in late March.
In his career, Jones has made appearances in the Bundesliga in 10 seasons, with Frankfurt, Leverkusen, and Schalke. He started 15 games for Blackburn in the Premier League in 2010/11, and for the past year and a half has made 34 appearances with 30 starts for the New England Revolution.
Jones might think about just tearing up the referee’s notebook next time – that only carries a three-game suspension.