|Full name||Jay Michael DeMerit|
|Date of birth||December 4, 1979|
|Place of birth||Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States|
|Height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|2001||Chicago Fire Premier||?||(?)|
|2011–2014||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||71||(1)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of July 24, 2014.
Jay Michael DeMerit (born December 4, 1979) is a former American soccer player who last played as captain for Vancouver Whitecaps FC in Major League Soccer. His improbable career is the subject of the independent film, Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story, based on his rise from the ninth tier of football in England to the Premier League and FIFA World Cup.
DeMerit played college soccer at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he moved from playing forward to defender. While in college, DeMerit formed part of a defensive backline that helped lead the team into the NCAA playoffs in 2000. Although he played with Chicago Fire Premier, the development team of the Chicago Fire in the USL Premier Development League, he was not drafted or signed by any Major League Soccer clubs following graduation from college. After spending some time working as a bartender, DeMerit took the advice of a former European teammate and decided to take advantage of his European Union work status (due to his Danish grandfather) by moving to England in 2003 with only $1,800, in an attempt to find a club to play for. He started off playing in the ninth tier of English football for Southall, earning only £40 a week.
In July 2004, DeMerit joined Northwood, a seventh-tier side, to play in some of their pre-season matches. Northwood played Watford, then a Football League Championship team, in their second pre-season match. During the course of the match, DeMerit impressed then Watford manager Ray Lewington enough to earn a two-week trial. Following the trial, DeMerit signed a one-year contract with Watford to play in their 2004–05 season.
During the 2005–06 season, Watford was expected by many to fight relegation from the Championship to League One as they had in DeMerit's first season with the club. However, under new coach Aidy Boothroyd, Watford maintained strong form throughout the season and finished third in the Championship table, earning the right to enter the playoffs for the last of three annual promotion spots to the Premier League. On May 21, 2006, in the play-off final against Leeds United, DeMerit headed in the game's first goal and was named Man of the Match as Watford gained promotion to the Premier League by defeating Leeds United 3–0. Soon afterwards, he joined the ranks of athlete-musicians by releasing a single entitled "Soccer Rocks", available in the club shop.
DeMerit's hard work in the 2005–06 Championship season and his efforts in helping get the club promoted was rewarded with a contract extension taking him through the end of the 2008–09 season as a Watford player. He was named as one of three candidates for Watford's 2006–07 Player of the Season award, which was ultimately won by goalkeeper Ben Foster.
Until the 2007–08 season, DeMerit often filled the role of Watford's vice-captain, behind then-captain Gavin Mahon. He captained Watford for the first time on December 9, 2006, in the home game against Reading, and re-donned the armband on January 6, 2007, for the 4–1 win over Stockport County in the FA Cup third round. On December 15, 2007, it was announced that DeMerit had been named captain, replacing Mahon, whose contract was not being renewed. However, this later proved to be a temporary move, with the captaincy rotating between himself, Danny Shittu, and Richard Lee, before finally being passed to John Eustace, a newly signed central midfielder. In later interviews, DeMerit admitted that this placed strain on his relationship with manager Adrian Boothroyd.
Early in the 2009–10 season, DeMerit suffered a scratch on his eyeball while removing a contact lens. DeMerit's eye became infected, severely obscuring his vision and requiring a corneal transplant in October. He returned to action on December 7, 2009, playing the second half of Watford's 3–1 victory over Queens Park Rangers. DeMerit's contract at Watford expired in June 2010, and was not renewed.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
On November 18, 2010, DeMerit was announced as the first player signed by Vancouver Whitecaps FC in preparation for their entry into Major League Soccer in 2011. He was also named the captain right before the season started. During the 2011 Major League Soccer season, DeMerit was out for a considerable amount of the season and the Whitecaps ended up finishing last in the league. In 2012, DeMerit was healthy the whole year and led the team to a decent finish. DeMerit was even named an MLS All-Star and played against Chelsea in the 2012 MLS All-Star Game. The MLS All-Stars won 3–2 against Chelsea.
In July 2014, DeMerit announced his retirement after a series of injuries. His retirement brought the curtain down on a fairytale decade as a professional footballer which saw him rise from English non-league football with Southall and Northwood, to Watford, then the Premier League and finally onto the 2010 FIFA World Cup and into Major League Soccer.
DeMerit earned his first cap for the United States national team on March 28, 2007, starting in a friendly against Guatemala. He was a member of the US Men's National Team that won the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, thus qualifying for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.
In the 2009 Confederations Cup, DeMerit started at center back due to Carlos Bocanegra's hamstring injury. He played the entire game when the US Men's National Team defeated Spain in the semi-final 2–0 on June 24, 2009; the Barcelona sports daily El Mundo Deportivo called DeMerit's play "superb". DeMerit also played the entire match when the USMNT lost 3–2 to Brazil in the Cup final on June 28, 2009.
For the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, he made Bob Bradley's 23-man squad, and started all four of the United States matches – the three first-round games, against England, Slovenia, and Algeria, and the second round match against Ghana, in which the US Men's National Team were eliminated. During the Algeria match he played most of the game with a split tongue that required five stitches after the game.
Despite his success in the World Cup squad and with Vancouver, he was not recalled to the national team under Bradley's successor Jurgen Klinsmann.
- As of July 24, 2014.
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Canada||League||Voyageurs Cup||-||North America||Total|
|2011||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||Major League Soccer||21||0||2||0||-||-||23||0|
- As of December 17, 2014.
- United States
- "Rise & Shine: Jay DeMerit's story".
- "BBC SPORT - Football - Championship - Leeds 0-3 Watford". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
- "Rise of non-league players shows power of football". The Student Newspaper. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
- "Huge shoes to fill". Watford Football Club.
- Gardner, Charles F. (May 21, 2010). "Green Bay's DeMerit closes in on World Cup dream". JSOnline. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- "World Cup 2010: Jay DeMerit warns US over Wayne Rooney". BBC Sport. June 7, 2010.
- "Jay DeMerit is First MLS Whitecap". Prostamerika.com. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- "Jay DeMerit announces retirement". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
- "Soccer and Football News, Live Scores, Highlights, Video, Schedule, Standings | FOX Soccer on MSN | FOX Sports on MSN". Msn.foxsports.com. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
-  Archived May 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jay DeMerit.|