Former Schalke and USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones (l.) is a big fan of RB Leipzig’s Tyler Adams, among a number of other USA youngsters in the Bundesliga. - © DFL
Former Schalke and USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones (l.) is a big fan of RB Leipzig’s Tyler Adams, among a number of other USA youngsters in the Bundesliga. - © DFL

Exclusive: Jermaine Jones: "Tyler Adams is a step in front of me at that age"


One of the original trailblazers for American players in the Bundesliga, former Eintracht Frankfurt and Schalke midfielder Jermaine Jones has high hopes for the latest batch of talented USA internationals in Germany.

The former USMNT stalwart sat down with for an exclusive chat about RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams, Borussia Dortmund attacker Gio Reyna and Werder Bremen striker Josh Sargent.

Now starting out on his coaching career by studying German youth systems and helping out the US U20 team, the 38-year-old also detailed exactly what makes Bayern Munich stars Robert Lewandowski and Joshua Kimmich so good. What do you think of Tyler Adams?

Jermaine Jones: "He already played amazingly in New York and then moving and coming over and playing for Leipzig - one of the strongest teams – that shows that he has a lot of talent. Under Julian Nagelsmann his development will be very good. He will be a big name in the national team too."

Watch: From the archive - Jermaine Jones on what makes the Bundesliga so special Is your relationship with Adams special because he plays as a defensive midfielder much like you used to?

Jermaine Jones: “It is not really something special. I'm in touch with some of them. I was in touch with [Weston] McKennie too, before he went to Juventus [from Schalke]… If they need help, they have my number. They can call me and we can talk.

"It's the developing part. I think that they're developing well. They are good listeners. They listen to everything they can get. That's the part you can see that they are doing. Adams is fantastic. He was injured but now, since he came back, he's really good.” Are there any parallels between you and Adams?

Jermaine Jones: "The work rate. He works hard for the team. I think that's the biggest one. I would say we are different kinds of players. I think he's a step in front of me at that age. His work rate is good. He's a team player, which is something I was too."

Watch: USA groupchat with Tyler Adams, Josh Sargent and Gio Reyna How about Gio Reyna?

Jermaine Jones: "I think he’s fantastic, if you see his development in the game as a young player - especially at a club like Dortmund. A lot of people forget about the pressure he had.

"Before it was [Christian] Pulisic and he was amazing too, and then he went to Chelsea. Reyna got developed and started coming in and playing fantastically. As a result, you can see how much talent we really have in the United States." What about Josh Sargent?

Jermaine Jones: "I was in contact with him for a little bit. I talked to him and I think it's good too. I think it's never easy for young players to move away from their home town and home country and go to a new one. Especially in the Bundesliga, where there is a lot of pressure and everything. Most of the kids, they don't come from that kind of pressure in the United States. So to see them developing is amazing. I told him that when I talked to him." What do you have to say about Sargent's skills?

Jermaine Jones: "I think he's a good striker. He's a hard worker. He has to learn a couple more things, but it is the developing part, age-wise. I think that so far the job he’s doing is amazing."

There’s no holding back Werder Bremen and USA striker Josh Sargent as he continues to impress in the Bundesliga. - Sudheimer /Eibner-Pressefoto via images/Eibner Which current American player is being hyped the most in the USA?

Jermaine Jones: "I would say that for now, a lot of people talk about Reyna. In general though, I don't like to pull people out and say 'he is the special one' or something. All three have their strong moments in games and have the opportunity to help the national team in America. I think they're playing a big part in developing United States soccer." Who is the best player in the Bundesliga right now in your opinion?

Jermaine Jones: "The best for me - the best right now and for a couple years - is Lewandowski because he is constantly scoring goals. It doesn't matter if he's playing against small teams or big teams. He's there. If you see his work rate as a number nine, it's ridiculous. I think a lot of people don't respect it that much. But if you played against him or you see how he plays day by day and focus only on him, you can see that there are not a lot of number nines that do what he does."

Jones (r.) knows all about Lewandowski (l.), having faced him in the Revierderby in 2011 while at Schalke. - PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP via Getty Images Who in your opinion is the best player in your position currently in the Bundesliga?

Jermaine Jones: "I met him in LA when he came with Bayern Munich… I think [Joshua] Kimmich is if you see him play. What I like about him is he has that kind of street manner about him. I don't know if he comes from the street or not - I don’t know him that well. But if you see him, he doesn't shy away from - how do you say it in English - the battles.

"He's talking on the field. He has the leadership for that. When you look at how young he is and switching [positions] too, he is kind of like Philipp Lahm: playing [at full-back] and then moving to the six [position]. This is where he developed, so I think he is the best number six in the league right now."