Free agent DP Jermaine Jones wants MLS deal but 'not afraid' of Europe
Colorado Rapids' Jermaine Jones has said that he would like to play again in Major League Soccer as he heads into free agency following his side's 1-0 MLS Cup semifinal loss to the Seattle Sounders on Sunday.
Jones said he would like a pay raise that returns him closer to the $3.05 million he made with New England last year before the Rapids acquired him in March for $650,000.
"People know that I came to this league as a [designated player] and this is where I want to go back to," Jones told the Denver Post. "I'm a free agent now. I will sit back and see what comes. I'm not scared to go back to Europe or scared to go to Mexico or somewhere."
The Rapids would hold Jones' rights, and as a DP, any other MLS team would have to consider the salary cap. The DP salary cap is estimated to be at $450,000 next year.
Jones played only nine regular-season games in 2016, missing the first six due to suspension and then sitting out almost four months with a knee injury he suffered on July 4.
He spent most of his career playing in Germany, where he was born, starting at Eintracht Frankfurt before shuffling to Bayer Leverkusen back to Frankfurt and then back to Schalke.
In 2014 after a loan to Besiktas, he headed to New England but sought a more lucrative contract than the Revolution were willing to offer and ultimately took a pay cut at Colorado mid-season.
Congrats to the @SoundersFC for winning the conference!! And a big thanks to my teammates, coaches and fans for an amazing season.- Jermaine Jones (@Jermainejunior) November 28, 2016
"This season was special," Jones said. "My situation was completely different before the season and I said, 'I don't care about money,' and I come and I want to play and I want to show people that I can be an impact player."
Despite his limited play, the 35-year-old sparked a Colorado turnaround upon his arrival mid-season and said on Sunday that critics underestimated the Rapids.
"It [not reaching final] will hurt now and it will hurt when you watch it on TV, but everybody in there can be proud what we showed this season," Jones said. "Nobody really had us on their radar, that we come so far, second in the league."
New U.S. team coach Bruce Arena has not yet said whether Jones figures in his plans for World Cup qualifying and international play.
Under former coach Jurgen Klinsmann, regular league play was key to national team call-ups.
Klinsmann was instrumental in Jones' switching to the U.S. team in 2010 and playing on United States' 2014 World Cup squad.
But Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni said he was not displeased with Jones' final match for Colorado.
"Jermaine had a very good game. He was a catalyst to everything we did on both sides of the ball," Mastroeni told the Denver Post. "He did about everything you would expect a player to do in that position to do except score."
Jones said he plans to spend time with his family before making a decision on a new contract.
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