The LA Galaxy and Jermaine Jones have finally agreed to a deal. The 35-year old National Team midfielder was signed to a contract after the LA Galaxy acquired his rights back in December from the Colorado Rapids. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but per league policy, the club disclosed that they used Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) to complete the deal. TAM can only be used to buy down a player who’s salary is above the 2017 maximum budget charge ($480,625).
Jones, who played in just nine regular-season games for the Colorado Rapids in 2016, made $650,000 in guaranteed compensation, according to the MLS Players Union. He scored three goals and provided two assists in 725 regular-season minutes and also made four appearances in Colorado’s playoff run.
The Galaxy are going out on a bit of a limb with this signing while looking for the perfect balance between youth and experience — something they didn’t have in 2016. Jones is coming off a serious injury to one of his legs and his health last season prevented him from being the impact player he’s been known for.
But he does have 67 appearances for the USMNT scoring four goals and is apparently a favorite of national team boss, Bruce Arena.
Having played for New England and then Colorado, since returning to the states, Jones hasn’t been able to find a consistent home in Major League Soccer. But the LA Galaxy provide him a chance to sleep in his own bed every night, something other clubs can’t offer. Jones and his family have a house in Los Angeles, and his interest in the club seems to span over the last two years.
Curt Onalfo, LA Galaxy Head Coach, is upbeat on the Jones signing. Saying “Jermaine is a winner who has experience in MLS and playing against the highest competition in the world. He has a relentless engine on the field and we are confident that he will strengthen our midfield.”
Jones is currently with the USMNT as they prepare for World Cup Qualifiers at the US’ January camp at StubHub Center.
He’ll have to prove that he’s worth the significant investment the team has made in him. And if this deal is to work out for both sides, Jones will need to be a constant provider and available and healthy for the vast majority of the Galaxy’s games. Something he wasn’t able to do in Colorado.
Galaxy fans have two recent examples for both a positive and negative outcome to trusting older legs. Ashley Cole had a standout season despite the early criticism of his age. He played in 26 regular season game and was generally regarded as one of the Galaxy’s brightest defenders.
But on the other end of the spectrum was Steven Gerrard. While effective when healthy, his body couldn’t keep him in the starting lineup long enough to influence a disappointing 2016 campaign.
Jones’ exact positioning remains to be seen. The Galaxy are sure to utilize him in the center of the field where he is a good attacking option and can also help out on the defensive side of the ball. Placing him just in front of Van Damme would provide a physical spine to the Galaxy they’ve been missing since Nigel de Jong left.
But Jones is also capable of distributing to the strikers and could be a valuable pairing with Giovani dos Santos in a more attacking role.
The LA Galaxy start their preseason on Monday, January 23rd ahead of their March 4th season opener with FC Dallas. Jones and the other players currently training with the USMNT (Gyasi Zardes, Sebastian Lletget, and Brian Rowe) will report to the Galaxy at the conclusion of US Soccer’s camp.