Jay DeMerit

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Jay DeMerit
Jay Demerit.jpg
Personal information
Full name Jay Michael DeMerit
Date of birth (1979-12-04) December 4, 1979 (age 43)
Place of birth Green Bay, Wisconsin, U.S.
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Position(s) Center back
College career
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1998–2001 UIC Flames
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001 Chicago Fire Premier
2003–2004 Southall 2 (0)
2004 Northwood 0 (0)
2004–2010 Watford 183 (9)
2011–2014 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 71 (1)
Total 256 (10)
International career
2007–2011 United States 25 (0)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of July 24, 2014
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of February 22, 2012

Jay Michael DeMerit (born December 4, 1979) is an American retired soccer player who played as a center back.

He played college soccer for the UIC Flames and was in the Chicago Fire Premier development squad, but after not being drafted for Major League Soccer, he moved to look for a club in England. He played for non-league sides Southall and Northwood before signing for Watford of the Championship in 2004. DeMerit played 211 total games for Watford over six seasons, including one in the 2006–07 Premier League, having scored in their victory in the 2006 Football League Championship play-off Final. After his release from Watford, he was the first player signed by the Vancouver Whitecaps FC for their entrance in MLS, where he played four seasons before retiring through injury.

DeMerit was first capped for the United States in March 2007, earning 25 caps up to 2011. He was part of their squads that won the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup and came runners-up at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, also featuring at the 2007 Copa América and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

DeMerit was a three-sport high school athlete in Wisconsin, where he participated in basketball and track in addition to soccer. He attended Bay Port High School and graduated in 1998.

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 $1,800, in an attempt to find a club to play for. He started off playing in the ninth tier of English soccer 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.[1] Following the trial, DeMerit signed a one-year contract with Watford to play in their 2004–05 season.


In November, he signed an extension to his contract, keeping him with the club until 2007.[2] He scored his first goal for the club on 15 January 2005, scoring Watford's third in a 3–1 win against Crewe Alexandra by "slamming into the bottom corner from 20 yards".[3]

During the 2005–06 season, Watford was expected 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.[4][5] 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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

Vancouver Whitecaps FC[edit]

DeMerit (right) defending against Nate Jaqua of the Seattle Sounders 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.[9] 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.[10][11]

International career[edit]

DeMerit earned his first cap for the United States national team on March 28, 2007, starting in a friendly against Guatemala.[12] He was a member of the U.S. 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 U.S. 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".[citation needed] 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,[13] Slovenia, and Algeria, and the second round match against Ghana, in which the U.S. 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.[14]

Despite his success in the World Cup squad and with Vancouver, he was not recalled to the national team under Bradley's successor Jürgen Klinsmann.

Personal life[edit]

His career is the subject of the 2011 independent film, Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story, based on his rise from the ninth tier of soccer in England to the Premier League and FIFA World Cup.[15]

In 2013 he married Canadian freestyle skier and Olympic gold medalist, Ashleigh McIvor.[16][17]

Career statistics[edit]


As of July 24, 2014[citation needed]
Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
2004–05 Northwood Isthmian League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2004–05 Watford Championship 24 3 2 0 6 0 0 0 32 3
2005–06 35 3 0 0 2 0 0 0 37 3
2006–07 Premier League 32 2 2 0 5 0 0 0 39 2
2007–08 Championship 35 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 37 1
2008–09 32 0 3 1 3 0 0 0 38 1
2009–10 27 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 28 0
Canada League Voyageurs Cup - North America Total
2011 Vancouver Whitecaps FC Major League Soccer 21 0 2 0 - - 23 0
2012 31 1 0 0 - - 31 1
2013 8 0 0 0 - - 8 0
2014 11 0 0 0 - - 11 0
Total England 185 9 10 1 16 0 0 0 211 10
Canada 71 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 73 1
Career total 256 10 12 1 16 0 0 0 284 11


As of December 17, 2014[citation needed]
National team Year Apps Goals
United States
2007 6 0
2008 3 0
2009 7 0
2010 7 0
2011 2 0
Total 25 0



United States

See also[edit]

  • Junior Messias - another football player who made semi-professional career lately and made progress from semi-professional to world class.


  1. ^ "DeMerit handed new Watford deal". BBC Sport. November 12, 2004. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  2. ^ "Lewington keen on American trialist". Watford Observer. August 6, 2004. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  3. ^ "Watford 3-1 Crewe Alexandra: Heidar Helguson nets a brace as Watford ease past Crewe at Vicarage Road". BBC Sport. January 15, 2005. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  4. ^ "BBC SPORT - Football - Championship - Leeds 0-3 Watford". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  5. ^ "Rise of non-league players shows power of football". The Student Newspaper. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  6. ^ "Huge shoes to fill". Watford Football Club. Archived from the original on December 16, 2007.
  7. ^ Gardner, Charles F. (May 21, 2010). "Green Bay's DeMerit closes in on World Cup dream". JSOnline. Archived from the original on April 16, 2012. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  8. ^ "World Cup 2010: Jay DeMerit warns US over Wayne Rooney". BBC Sport. June 7, 2010.
  9. ^ "Jay DeMerit is First MLS Whitecap". Prostamerika.com. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  10. ^ "Whitecaps' skipper Jay DeMerit announces his retirement (With video)". Archived from the original on July 28, 2014. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  11. ^ "Jay DeMerit announces retirement". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  12. ^ "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.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ [1] Archived May 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "The 10 Most Significant Goals In U.S. Soccer History: Landon Donovan". Sports Illustrated Longform. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  15. ^ "Rise & Shine: Jay DeMerit's story". Sports Illustrated.
  16. ^ Mckenzie, Kevin Hinton & Ryan. "Jay DeMerit and Ashleigh (McIvor) DeMerit Talk Romance, Olympics and Vancouver".
  17. ^ "Ashleigh McIvor-Jay DeMerit nuptials featured on cover of Whistler wedding magazine".

External links[edit]