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DeMerit relishes return to action

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PHOENIX – Jay DeMerit swears he’s done this before.

He was a World Cup starter and an American soccer success story in the shores of Europe.

But walking onto the field for an actual game felt as foreign to him as wearing a shirt in a rock video.

DeMerit, who had been dealing with injury (most recently one on his Achilles tendon), saw his first game action in about five months on Tuesday, coming into the Vancouver Whitecaps’ scrimmage vs. the Columbus Crew in the 76th minute at Reach 11 Sports Complex. (Whitecaps won, 2-1).

 ”You’re out for so long you don’t know what it’s going to be like,” DeMerit said. “It’s good to get back in. I’m trying to re-introduce myself into soccer (laughs), which is important.

“Today was a good start to get an actual 90-minute game where you come on and you get the lungs back and you start to work on things like that. We got a week (off) and we’ll come back and you get to do the same thing and hopefully by then I’ll be 100 percent and  back with the team and ready to rock. So that’s the goal.”

The last time DeMerit stepped on the field to play an actual game, it was in South Africa in front of thousands in the stands and millions in front of a TV.

For DeMerit, it is a wait that has felt just short of forever.

“But in the long run, that could help me,” said DeMerit, who struggled to find the right situation with a European club after the World Cup last summer before signing with Vancouver. “When you have a long career — it’s been seven years now pretty full on playing — you pick up injuries. You still have things bothering you.

"Over in Europe, you have no time to rest or heal," DeMerit said. "But hopefully, it’s a silver lining — not playing over five months, you let those types of things heal. And you not only rest your body but rest your mind. I think right now I’m really hungry for it again.

"I’m glad to be back with a bunch of guys who are enthusiastic and willing to work for each other, which I think we’re trying to create with this club and I think now it’s just about looking forward and get on the same page come March 19th.”

In the meantime, DeMerit just wants to play again and refine his new role as the veteran leader of a brand new expansion team.

“Well you know, that’s part of the reason why I’m here and why I cam here,” he said. “It’s a role I like to take and a roll that they brought me in for. It’s something I am looking forward to learning from this new group. Hopefully being a big part of this group moving forward.

"We got a wealth of experience coming in," DeMerit said. "We got other guys like John (Thorrington), Joe Cannon and a couple of guys from Europe. Then you combine that with a group of young, hungry guys who are eager and willing to learn and work for the club,that could be a deadly combination.”


  1. Demerit’s story is amazing and he did a good job pre-World Cup, but there’s very little upside for a European club to bring him in now. He’s 31 and was never particularly speedy or technically skilled to begin with. He brings fearlessness and tenacity to the pitch, but he was badly exposed at the World Cup. He made mistakes that lead to many of the early goals that plagued the US. I think he might have been more at fault than Gooch’s rustiness.

  2. all respect for how big Jay stepped up and made a difference when injuries opened up opportunity for him for the USMNT. like him in the veteran leader role definitely. pulling for him to do it

  3. More likely Gooch and either Ream or Gonzalez. or perhaps Gooch/Goodson.

    DeMerit’s time is up. It’s good for when vets realize this and let the younger guys time to step up. It’s a cycle.

    I believe DeMerit could have re-upped with Watford for a lower salary. Or transferred to another Championship team or even to a team like WBA or Blackpool. Rumors of him to Wolfsburg were rumors. But he could have played for a small team in any top division. But he is healthy enough for another 3-5years and good that it’s in MLS where he may be pulling $300,000.

  4. DeMerit deserves a story of his life. He played college soccer than played with the reserves of the Chicago Fire than left for England when he was 24 and took months or so and he left a $50 a week team in the 7th division of England to play for Watford in the Championship. He quickly became a starter and took them to the PL. And parlayed that into a starting role at the Confederation Cup and World Cup.

    Hope he’s pulling at least $300,000 at Vancouver. Danny Califf is making around $250,000 and he played in Denmark for only 3 years.

  5. An in form DeMerit will be starting at the Gold Cup. Lock it in.

    But to be clear, I am not saying this is the best choice. If Bob has the option, I cant see him going with another CB.

  6. I wish him well, but to answer the question ‘why here and not in europe’ – in part, he’s slow and tends to foul a lot (not a positive trait for a center back).

    I’d be suprised if he doesn’t lead the league in red cards.

  7. hahaha you guys don’t know about that? That’s old school! DeMerit’s the singer in that video, not sure how you can’t decipher that. There’s “Watford” all over the background and it even says soccer rocks by Jay DeMerit with more DeMerit related videos on the side. Good times!

    It was here:

    And also on TOW:

  8. I think its great to see Jay Demerit, Charlie Davies and Kenny Cooper back in MLS. This is going to be a good season….just got RBNY season tix!

  9. He wanted too much money… He’s getting old…. Not known for speed… Had been a little injury prone of late…. No one needed his services in countries or leagues he wanted to be in…. Not good enough?

    Could be many reasons… But he’s here now and MLS is better off for it.

  10. im as stunned as you are freddie… but i am also excited to see him in action when they play the la galaxy! jay is a all around class act and i wish him the best this season!

  11. I don’t understand how a defender who started in the World Cup and did pretty well could not get a contract with a club in Europe. Baffling.


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