United States vs Germany: Jermaine Jones embraces American dream after rejection from Joachim Löw

Turnaround in fortunes for USA midfielder who nearly played for Germany

Sao Paulo

Even when you know it is coming, it is still a shock to hear the American midfielder Jermaine Jones speak with such a thick German accent.

Born in Frankfurt to a German mother and an American serviceman father, Jones smiles when it is put to him he should be playing against the United States rather than for them today in Recife.

Having grown up in Germany and spent almost his entire professional career in the country, Jones was a member of Joachim Löw’s training squad for Euro 2008, making three appearances in the warm-up games – including against England.

Despite assuring Jones he would be in his 23, Löw cut him from the squad at the last minute. But, because the games he had played in were not competitive, Jones was able to switch allegiance, declaring in 2009 that he would represent the US.

Now a key member of Jürgen Klinsmann’s squad, he faces Germany for the first time in a competitive game today, with both sides needing a point to be sure of a place in the last 16.

For both Jones and Klinsmann – a German legend who won 80 caps for his national side before managing them in the 2006 World Cup – hearing today’s national anthems will evoke mixed feelings.

“I am proud of being from both countries,” says Jones, who was on loan at Blackburn in 2011. “I grew up in Germany and that country gave me a lot. It was my first steps in football, and I played my first games there, in the league and for Germany, so I won’t say bad stuff about them.

“Jogi Löw gave me the chance to play for Germany, and Germany is one of the biggest football countries in the world. It is tough to get selected for this country but I had my games for them.

“But I am still proud too when I hear the national anthem of USA. I will take each anthem as it comes – close my eyes and let it go through me. Then after I will look at my game.”

You would forgive Jones if there were some bitterness towards Löw, but he appears genuine when he says that revenge is a long way down his list of motivating factors in Recife today.

Jürgen Klinsmann, right, faces compatriot Joachim Löw in Recife USA manager Jürgen Klinsmann, right, faces compatriot Joachim Löw in Recife “It is hard to miss out when you are so close to going to a big tournament and you feel you are in the team,” he says of 2008.

“At this point the coach told me I would be in the team but then he skipped back and changed it. I was upset. But I have a nice family who brought me back up and I was OK in two or three days.

“I went to the (European) final when Germany played against Spain [in 2008] and I tried everything – I really flew the flag for Germany so they could win that tournament.

“Now I play for the United States, have a lot of caps [46] and I am really happy to be in this World Cup.

“I have a lot of friends there but everything happens for a reason. The point for me is not to beat my friends but to go to the next round. We will try everything to win the game, we don’t say that a draw will help us.”

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<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
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<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
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He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
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I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
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