Jermaine Jones thrives in No. 10 role for Rapids, where he'll stay for now

COMMERCE CITY, Colo.—Jermaine Jones the No. 10? You'd better get used to it.

The Colorado Rapids midfielder has continued his mission to prove doubters wrong, scoring three goals in four appearances since debuting for the club last month, and he's done it all in an attacking midfield role.

For Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni, Jones ticked all the boxes in what he was looking for in the position.

"It’s really a position of expression," Mastroeni said. "When Jermaine came and joined us for four or five weeks in training, what I recognized in him was his ability to maintain possession of the ball, to find a creative pass, to battle out of those higher positions and defend out of those higher positions. I felt like he played that position really well."

Said Jones; "Pablo and I talked about it and we said we want to get more power in front. I feel like with my position and my personality, it gives other teams problems, too."

While most are familiar with Jones’ ability to break up plays rather than create them, the 34-year-old has been honing his attacking skills dating all the way back to the start of his career with Eintracht Frankfurt.

"I played striker when I started [in Frankfurt]," Jones said. "I can play that position, but most of the coaches said ‘Let’s push him back. He’s physical and he’s strong.’ I’ve always said I like to attack. I did it at the World Cup. We pushed forward and I enjoyed it and I’m enjoying it right now too."

US men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann has taken note of his scoring form, making a tongue-in-cheek comment via Twitter that Jones could have a future as a No. 9 for the Red, White and Blue.

All jokes aside, Jones expressed a deep respect for Klinsmann and a willingness to play any position for the coach, whether it’s as a No. 9 or as a center back, where Jones featured for the US against Honduras in 2014.

"One of the guys who’s always pushed me is Jurgen Klinsmann, "Jones said. "He said a long time ago that 'Jermaine is not what everybody sees but he’s really important for the team in training sessions' and all that. People were laughing, but all of the coaches I’ve played with will tell you that 'While Jermaine is crazy, he’s got heart and will do everything for you.'"

He has been doing just that in Colorado, whether it’s by scoring a goal or continuing to be a destroyer in the midfield. But as a central pivot of the attack, Jones has excelled, helping the Rapids post a 3-0-1 record since his debut and rise to the top of the Western Conference.

With results like those, Mastroeni believes Jones will continue to play as a No. 10 for the foreseeable future.

"It’s been working really well to this point," Mastroeni said. "Obviously, like everything in life, you have to be willing to be flexible. But I think it’s a role that he really enjoys. It brings the best out of him, so I don’t see any need to change anything."