Frank Yallop took the middle road Thursday.
The Chicago Fire coach and director of soccer said he doesn't know if U.S. midfielder Jermaine Jones has signed with Major League Soccer.
"I'm not sure," Yallop said.
Sources said Jones has signed with the league, but Jones tweeted Wednesday night that he hasn't. It's all part of an on-going saga marked by frustration and confusion, in part because it's not clear whether Jones would come to Chicago or go to the New England Revolution and how the league would decide his destination. Players sign contracts with the single-entity league, and Jones and his agent have been negotiating with the league.
"I think a decision is coming pretty quickly," said Yallop, adding he's not sure of the process for allocating Jones to a team. "It's been a while now. I think it's four weeks ago since we started talking to him, so it's frustrating at that point. Something's going to be done, I hope, in the next 24 hours. Hopefully. I've said that a few times."
Looking for clarity:
The confusion over Jones' MLS destination could be a negotiating point between the MLS Players Union and the league during upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement talks. The CBA signed in 2010 expires after this season.
"Do you know how long the list is of things we need clarified between the players and the league? It's incredibly long," said Fire captain Jeff Larentowicz, who along with teammate Logan Pause is on the MLSPU exective board. "Management rights and the way things are done and changed with rules in the league is something that the players would love to have a hand in, would love to be in on when the league comes up with the rules, changes them. At this point we're not (at all)."
Present and accounted for:
Welsh striker Robert Earnshaw arrived at Toyota Park to work out with his new teammates for the first time. Earnshaw, 33, signed Aug. 15, hopes to provide the spark the Fire (4-6-13, 25 points) has lacked.
"The one thing I'm going to bring is hopefully energy," he said. "
The problem is he's at a "preseason" fitness level, though he hopes to be able to play Saturday at Toronto FC (6 p.m., Channel 50), his former MLS club.
Earnshaw said he didn't have a reason for picking uniform No. 88, "but I wanted a high number because I wanted to be here long enough to score that many goals," he said.