SAO PAULO – United States midfielder Jermaine Jones has promised to make a touching show of respect by refusing to celebrate if he scores against Germany in the World Cup.
Jones was born and raised in Germany, and played for that country's national team before switching to the U.S. He was eligible to make the change due to his American father.
In the event that he hits the target when the teams meet in Recife in the third round of Group G games on June 26, you won't see Jones leaping up and down in delirium.
"If I score against Germany, I will maybe not celebrate," Jones said. "I think it is in respecting that I grew up in [that] country. They gave me a lot."
Jones came close to being a regular on the German national team and was one of the final cuts before the 2008 European Championships in Austria and Switzerland. He was able to switch over because he had only played friendly games for the Germans, and not a full competitive match.
He made the move in 2009 and is now one of five German-Americans among the U.S.'s 23-man roster that Jurgen Klinsmann selected to bring to Brazil, along with Fabian Johnson, John Brooks, Timmy Chandler and Julian Green.
The 32-year-old still holds great fondness for German national team coach and former Klinsmann assistant Joachim Loew, who will lead a side considered as one of the favorites to win the tournament.
"I had my first caps for the national team in Germany," Jones said. "I am really happy, too, that Loew gave me this chance so I will not celebrate if I score. But, if somebody else scores, then I can celebrate."
Refusing to celebrate against a former team is a common sight in club soccer and is regarded as a classy show of sportsmanship throughout the game.
Jones says he is "proud to be an American" and even has a U.S. flag tattooed on his left kneecap, but he still considers Germany home, even after he moved to play for Turkish side Besiktas last season.
Having played for five clubs in his career, Jones has occasionally come up against former friends and colleagues, and it hasn't always ended well.
"The only time when I scored against my ex-team was I made an own goal with Eintracht Frankfurt," he laughed. "So I had no chance to celebrate."
Americans fans would be delighted to see a non-celebration from him on June 26.
- Sports & Recreation
- Jermaine Jones