Jack Jewsbury joins exclusive veteran MLS list
Landon Donovan. Jeff Cunningham. Kyle Beckerman. Pablo Mastroeni. Kevin Hartman. Jimmy Conrad. Dwayne De Rosario.
These are some of the names that define MLS soccer. They are veterans. They are stars. Many of them are captains.
In today’s match, one of our very own Portland Timbers joined that illustrious list.
Timbers midfielder and team captain Jack Jewsbury played his 200th career MLS match today joining the select group of players listed above. Not only that, but he capped the day off with his second goal of the season and assisted on another.
In his typical humble fashion, Jewsbury was unaware of the milestone coming into the game today.
“It’s quite an honor. I didn’t know of it until you mentioned it before," said a surprised Jewsbury. "But it’s a great honor to be included with some of the great names in this league. I’ve been fortunate to stay pretty healthy over my nine years. It’s a blessing to play professional soccer daily and to be able to last that long has been great. I look forward to the coming years here in Portland.”
Jewburys’s accomplishment comes after years of solid and fan-favorite play in Kansas City. Traded in the preseason to Portland and then given the captain’s armband only days later against Seattle Sounders FC in the Cascadia Summit, Jewsbury has exhibited nothing but class and clear leadership. Those two elements were among the main reasons head coach John Spencer and general manager/technical director Gavin Wilkinson went after him.
“I think that to play 200 games in this league is a testament to himself as an individual,” said Spencer. “We fought really hard and long to get him here and eventually we got him. After seeing him for two or three days, I spoke with the staff and we were all in agreement that he should be the captain. He’s a great leader. For him to come up today and mark his 200th game with a goal was excellent. I can’t speak highly enough of the kid.”
The other side—the onfield play—has been stellar as well. “Captain Jack” has been an effective free kick specialist and primary corner kick option for the Timbers attack. Positioned in the middle as the attacking point of the midfield diamond, Jewsbury has also been a commanding presence in the possession-heavy, constant ball movement 4-4-2 style that Spencer has implemented with the team.
“He has a drive and desire and determination to succeed every day and that’s why he’s played 200 games in the league,” continued Spencer. “He comes to practice, he never takes a day off. It doesn’t matter if it’s small sided 9v3 possession games, he wants to keep the ball, he wants to win the game and I think that reflects well on the field.”
Jewsbury himself has relished his chance to play professional soccer. His career has seen many changes to the league, not the least of which is the creation itself of the Portland Timbers—a team that did not exist in MLS when he was a rookie.
“I think the cool thing for me is to see the progress the league has made,” reflected Jewsbury. “Not only in the organizations but the stadiums and the fans. Over my nine years, I’ve played in some different stadiums and now to be here in Portland, in this atmosphere, it’s unbelievable. I’m excited to always be playing and every day I come in here, I feel blessed.”