The polarizing Jermaine Jones  

September, 20, 2012

If Jermaine Jones isn't the most polarizing player on the U.S. squad, he's got to be pretty close.

Because for a large contingent of national team observers, it doesn't seem to matter that Jones is the lone USMNT starter playing in the UEFA Champions League, or that his club team, Schalke, is perennially one of the Germany's best.

It doesn't seem to matter that two separate U.S. coaches, current boss Jurgen Klinsmann and his predecessor, Bob Bradley, valued Jones' pedigree and competitiveness enough to make him a staple in the Yanks' midfield.

What Jones' detractors -- a group that includes both fans and media members -- notice most are the questionable tackles, the imperfect touches and the tendency to roam out of position. They see a red card waiting to happen in the unpredictable world of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

They do have an argument.

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.