Jermaine Jones has never been a man to hold back his opinions, and in a new interview with Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl, he went off on the way U.S. Soccer is currently run.
Jones often used the phrase "with all due respect" before absolutely annihilating an aspect of the U.S. Soccer system. A brief sampling is below.
On Bruce Arena:
“Bruce Arena, with all due respect, is the worst coach I ever had in my whole career. The worst. And he’s like the No. 1 American coach.”
More on Arena:
“With all due respect, how can you go from Bob Bradley and Jürgen Klinsmann to Bruce Arena? Like, what are you doing, guys?”
On long-time U.S. national team player Tim Ream:
“Tim Ream is not a national team captain, with all due respect. He’s a nice man but not a national team captain.”
And finally on the way national team players are selected:
“And with all due respect, there’s some players, they play national team now, they’re not national team players. With all due respect. This is why we struggle. But nobody says that because it will hurt MLS. Because MLS is saying, ‘Wait a minute, if he helps them out and he brings a guy in who’s an MLS player, after a couple times playing national team he’s not a national team player. Now we can sell it better, you know? And it’s just marketing and the business.”
Honestly, you can't legitimately argue with any of Jones' points. U.S. Soccer is so far behind the rest of the world and it isn't for a lack of raw talent. The development and coaching just lags miles behind the elite soccer powers.
He lobbed one last shot at Arena and the way U.S. Soccer tends to promote from within and boost the profiles of people within the "family, "rather than finding the best talent in the world:
“Everything we are doing here is run like a family business. It’s like: Who do I know and who can help me out? Bruce Arena’s son [Kenny]? Come on, he’s not a coach. But then straight away he’s a national team assistant coach. Gets kicked out, and then he gets to LAFC because his dad has a friend, Bob Bradley. He has another job, and you’re like, goddamn, how is that possible?”
Again, he's not wrong.
The entire article is brilliant, as Wahl takes a long look at Jones' fascinating career, his personal life and looks ahead to what's next for the 38-year-old. Jones is attempting to get into coaching but has found many doors closed to him despite his outstanding playing career.