Jack Jewsbury wasn’t necessarily unhappy in Kansas City. He hadn’t given up on earning a place in Sporting’s starting lineup either, despite filling the role of super sub a year ago.
So when Jewsbury went to manager Peter Vermes two weeks ago to discuss his future with the team, he just put his cards on the table and hoped the situation would work out for the best.
“We had a pretty candid discussion,” Jewsbury told MLSsoccer.com by phone from Portland. “I just told him that at my age, I wanted to be a key member of a team. I don’t think it’s a position for me right now to be coming off the bench and helping the team in that sense, and I felt like I could be a starter somewhere else.
“I think they thought about that for a few weeks and what they were looking for. No hard feelings, and that’s what I told them. If it was time for you guys to move in another direction, so be it. I will make the most of it.”
Road Trip to First Kick
Starting March 6, join MLSsoccer.com’s Jackie Pickering and Nick Firchau as they travel from LA to Vancouver, checking in on all the West Coast teams, meeting with fans, and stopping into adidas HQ in Portland to pick up the game ball for First Kick on March 15 at Qwest Field.
That discussion prompted Tuesday’s trade that sent Jewsbury to the Portland Timbers for allocation money, ending the veteran’s time in Kansas City but giving him a chance to rejuvenate his career in the Pacific Northwest.
Having trained with Portland on Wednesday, Jewsbury has already started his quest to take advantage of his new situation and earn a place in the Timbers' starting 11 after bouncing between the bench and field last year in Kansas City.
In Jewsbury, Portland acquired a versatile, veteran midfielder who made 195 regular-season appearances for Kansas City over eight seasons and scored 15 goals to go along with 21 assists while playing multiple positions.
“My experience is big,” Jewsbury said, “and I think that’s something that [Portland] were looking for in the middle of midfield. That leadership role with so many young guys and new players, not only to MLS but to the Portland team, I think someone to kind of lead the group and be a voice in the middle of the field is important. That’s a role that I am looking to take over.”
And while he knows that working his way into the starting 11 in Portland won’t be easy, Jewsbury said he simply can’t be satisfied with any other role at this point in his career.
After being a mainstay in Kansas City’s lineup from 2007 to '09, Jewsbury started 17 games in 2010 but mainly came off the bench for most of the second half of the season.
“It was difficult for me to basically take a step backward,” Jewsbury said. “But at the same time, it kind of makes you hungrier to break back into that starting 11, whether it was in Kansas City or somewhere else. I’m a guy that’s going to push to be in that lineup week in and week out.”
And while Jewsbury said he had mixed feelings about leaving Kansas City and the friends he’s made over eight years behind, the opportunity to start anew in a city with plenty of hype of its own on the horizon represents a perfect opportunity from a professional standpoint.
“There’s a buzz definitely here in Portland even in the day and a half that I’ve been here,” he said. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about this organization and the Timbers in general. I’m ready to get started.”