Ontario Fury Signs Former U.S. International Jermaine Jones
2014 FIFA World Cup star joins Inland Empire club following storied outdoor career
By Gunnar Berndt
Ontario, Calif. – Former U.S. Men’s National Team regular and 2014 FIFA World Cup star Jermaine Jones has signed with the Ontario Fury, joining the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) side for its late-season postseason push. The hard-nosed veteran comes to the Fury following an accomplished outdoor career which included numerous appearances in the German topflight and the UEFA Champions League as well for the Stars and Stripes.
The signing was officially announced during a press conference at Ontario’s home venue, Citizens Business Bank Arena, on Tuesday morning. Per team and league policies, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Said Fury President Bernie Lilavois “Following the recent additions of Landon Donovan by San Diego and Lamar Neagle by Tacoma, we’re proud and excited to be continuing the trend of household names joining the MASL and our division. When we can bring in a player like Jermaine, who was starting games in Major League Soccer less than eighteen months ago and is a fierce competitor to this day, that speaks volumes about how far our sport has come. We can’t wait to see this American hero don the Fury crest and create lots of unforgettable memories for our fans.”
With his new club trailing the Tacoma Stars in the hunt for the all-important second place in the Pacific Division playoff picture, Jones could not be heading to the Inland Empire at a more crucial time, as Ontario will need to be near-perfect over the course of its final five games to close out the 2018-19 regular season.
“My motivation for coming here was the whole package,” said the newest member of the Fury. “I love and miss the game and I enjoy the challenge of what is ahead for us in the coming weeks. I’ve been away for a little while and coming back to play indoor soccer seemed like a great opportunity. Talking to Bernie (Lilavois), I really liked what he said and what they’re trying to build for the future. After thinking about it for a bit, I came out to training and from there it was clear that I wanted to do it.”
He continued, “The main goal now is to make the playoffs and for me personally to give back some of the experience that I have. Indoor is a different game than outdoor, but the focus is still being good on the ball and scoring goals. I’ve been out there doing that for a while, so I cherish every chance I get to help the young players, the coach and the club.”
Born to a German mother and an American serviceman father in 1981, Jones lived in Illinois and Mississippi as a young child but subsequently grew up in the German state of Hesse and joined hometown club Eintracht Frankfurt as a teenager. He went on to make over 200 appearances for the first teams of Frankfurt and fellow Bundesliga outfits Bayer Leverkusen and FC Schalke 04 over the course of 15 years. The now 37-year-old enjoyed the most successful stint of his European career while with Schalke from 2007 to 2014, taking the field over 140 times and featuring in six different UEFA Champions League campaigns.
In addition to his time in Germany, Jones suited up for Blackburn Rovers of the English Premier League in 2011, Turkey’s Besiktas in 2014 and stateside for Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs New England Revolution, Colorado Rapids and Los Angeles Galaxy between 2014 and 2017.
After representing Germany three times at the senior level and completing a one-time switch to the United States in 2009, the midfielder immediately became a regular under Head Coach Bob Bradley and only missed out on the 2010 FIFA World Cup due to injury. He continued to play a central role for the Red White and Blue over the years, racking up a total of almost 70 caps and reaching the game’s biggest stage in the summer of 2014 under Head Coach Jürgen Klinsmann.
Competing at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Jones helped his country emerge from a tough group that also featured traditional European powerhouses Germany and Portugal as well as African dark horses Ghana. While the then 32-year-old put in impressive performances in all three matches, he produced arguably the most memorable moment of his career in a 2-2 draw with Portugal, his right-footed rocket from 25 yards out temporarily tying the score at one apiece.
The German-American was also a member of the U.S. squads which took second place in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup and fourth place in the 2016 Copa América Centenario.
Offered Ontario Head Coach Jimmy Nordberg, “Having competed at the highest levels of global soccer, Jermaine adds a wealth of skill, drive and experience that any squad in the MASL would be lucky to have. Given we’ve lost a lot of very close matches against top-caliber opponents this season, signing such a seasoned veteran of the international game has the potential to make a huge difference for us down the stretch. This signing has us even more determined to keep battling for our city and our region. We’d love nothing more than for our fans to see Jermaine lead the charge for us in the postseason.”
The Ontario Fury travels to take on the Tacoma Stars, its direct rivals for the remaining Pacific Division playoff spot, this coming Friday, March 12. The team then returns to Southern California for another potential must-win fixture and the expected home debut of new signing Jermaine Jones, a meeting with the El Paso Coyotes on Sunday, March 24. Jones and fellow ex-U.S. star Landon Donovan are scheduled to clash when Donovan’s Sockers visit the Inland Empire on Thursday, April 4. Tickets to all Fury games at Citizens Business Bank Arena may be purchased by clicking here or by calling 909-457-0252.