A United States international that played in every match of his country's campaign at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Jay DeMerit became Whitecaps FC's first Major League Soccer signing on Nov. 18, 2010. The native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, joined Vancouver after six seasons with England's Watford FC, where he served as club captain. DeMerit became Whitecaps FC's inaugural MLS captain and the 20th men's team captain since the club's first season in 1974 on Mar. 2. The Captain returned to first team action for the first time since rupturing his Achilles tendon during the season opener on September 14 versus San Jose Earthquakes, coming on as a first half substitute for Brad Rusin.
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER 2013: The captain had a tough start to his 2013 season, rupturing his Achilles tendon only six minutes into the season opener which left him sidelines for the majority of the season. After months of hard work, DeMerit returned to action on September 14, replacing an injured Brad Rusin in the 31st minute and going on to earn Budweiser Man of the Match honours in a gritty 1-1 draw on the road against San Jose Earthquakes. The hard-nosed centre back went on to play all 540 minutes of the remaining six matches. 2012: In Whitecaps FC’s second match of the season, DeMerit scored his first goal in MLS, as he headed home the match winner in an historic 1-0 away win over Chivas USA on Mar. 17. The result was Vancouver’s first away win in MLS. His performances through the first half of the season earned DeMerit a fan selection to the MLS All-Star First XI on July 8. As the first Whitecaps FC player to appear at an MLS All-Star Game, DeMerit put in an impressive 90-minute display for the MLS All-Stars, as they defeated UEFA Champions League holders Chelsea FC 3-2 at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, on July 25. DeMerit then earned his first MLS assist when he set up Kenny Miller's first goal in the league during Whitecaps FC's 2-1 defeat at Portland Timbers on Aug. 25. The centre back’s performance in Vancouver’s regular season finale - a 0-0 draw at Real Salt Lake on Oct. 27 - earned him a spot in MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week for Week 33. DeMerit then started Whitecaps FC’s first-ever match in the MLS Cup Playoffs on Nov. 1, as Vancouver fell 2-1 at defending champions LA Galaxy. 2011: DeMerit started as centre back on his and Vancouver's MLS debut on Mar. 19, as Whitecaps FC defeated Canadian rivals Toronto FC 4-2 at Empire Field. The centre back also appeared in both legs of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship final versus Toronto FC on May 18 and July 2, with Whitecaps FC falling 3-2 on aggregate. Despite battling with injuries during the early part of the year, DeMerit appeared in nearly two-thirds of Whitecaps FC’s regular-season matches during their inaugural MLS season, starting all but one of his 21 appearances for the Blue and White..
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER RESERVE LEAGUE 2011: Returning from injury, DeMerit played the first half in Whitecaps FC reserves 2-1 home win over Seattle Sounders FC reserves on Aug. 9 at Swangard Stadium.
ENGLAND 2009-10: The centre back made 27 league appearances in his sixth and final season with Watford, with the Hertfordshire club finishing 16th in the League Championship standings. He also appeared in Watford's 5-0 defeat at Chelsea FC in the third round of the English FA Cup on Jan. 3, 2010. DeMerit's time in English soccer ended after his Watford contract expired at the end of the season. 2008-09: DeMerit made 32 league appearances in his fifth season with Watford, as The Hornets finished 13th in the League Championship standings. He was part of the club's run to the English League Cup quarterfinals, while his only goal that season coming in the fourth round of the English FA Cup, as Watford defeated Crystal Palace FC 4-3 on Jan. 24, 2009. 2007-08: The centre back helped Watford back to the League Championship playoffs after a sixth-place finish in the standings. Though DeMerit served the second half of the season as club captain, Watford's hopes of an English Premier League return were ended in the playoff semifinals when they lost 6-1 on aggregate to Hull City FC. His only goal that season came on Boxing Day (Dec. 26, 2007) in a 2-2 home draw versus Cardiff City FC. 2006-07: Playing in the top flight of English soccer, DeMerit and Watford endured a difficult season, as The Hornets finished bottom of the English Premier League standings and were subsequently relegated back to the League Championship. The defender, however, helped Watford reach the semifinals of the English FA Cup before losing to Manchester United FC. He had two goals in the Premier League that season versus Portsmouth FC (Nov. 18, 2006) and Blackburn Rovers FC (Jan. 23, 2007). 2005-06: Under the stewardship of manager Adrian Boothroyd, who replaced Lewington in Mar. 2005, DeMerit helped Watford earn promotion to the English Premier League as winners of the League Championship playoffs after a third-place finish in the standings. His three goals that season included the match-winner in the promotion playoff final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on May 21, 2006. The Hornets defeated Leeds United FC 3-0, with DeMerit earning the 'Man of the Match' award. 2004-05: The centre back made the move to English league soccer when he signed a one-year contract with second-tier League Championship side Watford FC following a two-week trial. DeMerit's move to The Hornets came after he impressed then Watford manager, and former Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder, Ray Lewington during a preseason friendly in July 2004. The defender played against Watford as a trialist with semi-professional outfit Northwood FC of the seventh-tier Isthmian League Premier Division. DeMerit made his Watford debut in the first round of the English League Cup, as The Hornets defeated Cambridge United 1-0 at home on Aug. 24, 2004. The centre back made over 30 appearances in league and cup play during his first season with Watford, helping the Hertfordshire club to the English League Cup semifinals, where they eventually fell to Liverpool FC. He scored three goals in the League Championship that season. Those goals came against Crewe Alexandra FC (Jan. 15, 2005), Ipswich Town FC (Feb. 22, 2005), and Leicester City FC (Mar. 15, 2005). 2003-04: DeMerit's start in English soccer came in the ninth tier with Southall FC of the Combined Counties Football League. Southall are based in the London borough of Ealing.
UNITED SOCCER LEAGUES PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE 2001: The defender appeared in Chicago Fire Premier's inaugural season in the PDL. Known then as Chicago Fire Reserves, DeMerit led the Illinois-based outfit to a first-place finish in the Great Lakes Division of the PDL's Central Conference. The fire reached the Central Conference playoff final before losing 1-0 to Sioux Falls Spitfire.
DeMerit enjoyed a stellar four-year NCAA Division I career with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). 2001: With the MCC renamed the Horizon League, DeMerit had another fine season for the Flames in his senior year. He was again named to the NSCAA All-Midwest Region First Team and the All-Horizon League First Team after appearing in every match for UIC that year. His four goals include strikes in three straight matches versus University of Detroit Mercy (Oct. 26), University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (Nov. 3), and Loyola University Chicago (Nov. 10). 2000: The defender was named to the NSCAA All-Midwest Region First Team, and for a second time, the All-MCC First Team after a fine junior year with the Flames. For a second straight season, DeMerit made the MCC All-Tournament Team after leading UIC to a second MCC men's soccer title. The Flames also reached the 'Sweet 16' of the NCAA Tournament before losing 6-0 to Stanford University on Nov. 25. 1999: The centre back's sophomore season with the Flames earned him a spot in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Midwest Region Second Team and the All-Midwestern Collegiate Conference (MCC) First Team. DeMerit made the MCC All-Tournament Team after leading the Flames to their first MCC men's soccer title and the NCAA Tournament. This included the match-winner in the MCC Tournament quarterfinal win over Cleveland State University. He also earned a spot on the MCC's Academic All-Conference Team. 1998: As a freshman, DeMerit appeared in all 17 matches for the Flames, with 10 of those appearances coming in the defensive backline. His only goal that season was the match-winner in a 2-1 overtime victory at local rivals Loyola University Chicago.
Though not selected to appear for his country at youth international level, DeMerit's rise as a defender in England led to his establishment as a senior international with his native United States. Senior: The centre back made his USA debut during a goalless draw versus Guatemala in Frisco, Texas, on Mar. 28, 2007. The defender then appeared in Group B victories over Guatemala (June 7, 2007) and Trinidad & Tobago (June 9, 2007), as the USA went on to claim the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup title. Later that summer, DeMerit was also a member of the USA squad that appeared at the 2007 Copa America in Venezuela. He made two appearances in Group C, including a start in the 4-1 defeat to South American giants Argentina on June 28, 2007. He was then involved in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying in 2008 before appearing for his country at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. DeMerit helped the Americans to the final of the competition in South Africa, with the centre back appearing in all three Group B matches versus Italy (June 15, 2009), Brazil (June 18, 2009), and Egypt (June 21, 2009). He then started the USA's historical 2-0 victory over reigning European champions Spain in the semifinals on June 24, 2009. DeMerit was then selected to the USA's 23-player squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and started all four of his country's matches in South Africa. He appeared in the draws versus England (June 12, 2010) and Slovenia (June 18, 2010) before taking part in the famous 1-0 victory over Algeria (June 23, 2010) that clinched top spot for the Americans in Group C. DeMerit's World Cup campaign ended in the Round of 16 when the USA lost 2-1 in extra time to Ghana on June 26, 2010. The centre back then appeared in the USA's 1-1 friendly draw versus Argentina in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Mar. 26, 2011, and the 1-0 friendly defeat to Paraguay in Nashville, Tennessee, on Mar. 29, 2011.
DeMerit played youth soccer with Howard Hurricanes Soccer Club in his hometown of Green Bay, Wisconsin, before joining a team called Green Bay 7 Up until he was 20 years of age. The defender also had a stellar soccer career with Bay Port High School in his hometown of Green Bay, Wisconsin. As a junior and senior, he led the Pirates in goals, assists, and points. As a senior, he was named Metro Player of the Year by the Green Bay Press Gazette newspaper, while he also earned All-Bay Conference First Team, all-state, and all-metro honours as a junior and senior. DeMerit was also a top athlete for the Pirates in track & field and basketball.
Born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, DeMerit attended Hillcrest Elementary School in nearby Oneida, Wisconsin, before studying at Bay Port High School. In 2002, the centre back completed a degree in industrial design at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His parents are Karen and John DeMerit. On August 25, DeMerit married Canadian Olympic Ski Cross Gold Medalist Ashleigh McIvor; the couple tied the knot in Whistler.
A man of many interests, DeMerit enjoys painting and playing bass guitar when not concentrating on his soccer career. He is also an owner/partner of an interactive digital media company called 'Songwhale', which is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and part owner of two clothing companies called SECT Wear and Sasha Moon. The centre back also owns Villain's Bar and Grill in Chicago, Illinois, and is also involved in an online fitness company called The Regimen. The defender is a big fan of the NFL's Green Bay Packers, while he also enjoys watching the UEFA Champions League.