Vancouver Whitecaps FC defender Jay DeMerit has spent the past eight years watching the Super Bowl abroad, but his first chance to watch the big game back in his home country couldn’t have been better timed.
The United States national team defender will take in Sunday's big game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers from Whitecaps FC training camp in Casa Grande, Arizona.
DeMerit is a die-hard Packers fan and is ecstatic to see his team in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1998. He took some time to talk to MLSsoccer.com about his love for the Packers, explaining that when you grow up in Green Bay, it just comes with the territory.
MLSsoccer.com: How did you become a Packers fan?
DeMerit: When you’re born in Green Bay, you’re just born a fan. You’re born into what it means with the loyalties, the traditions, the history, and all that comes along with it. It’s a very unique place to grow up because when you live and breathe a team that’s a very special thing in sports.
MLSsoccer.com: Who did you idolize growing up?
DeMerit: Well, you’ve got the guys like Don Majkowski in my era, and then the Brett Favre era, of course. A lot has been said about Favre over the years, but ultimately, he defined that city and the way he played is exactly what the city is all about. He would definitely be my No. 1 mentor growing up, as far as an athlete.
MLSsoccer.com: What memories do you have following the team as a youngster?
DeMerit: In Green Bay, football is a part of life. They say that there are two things people do on Sundays in Green Bay: go to church and then watch the Packers. And that’s pretty much the way everyone in Green Bay grows up. It’s a pretty special place when it comes to football.
DeMerit: It’s fun. I’ll talk as much trash as it takes to back up my Pack.
MLSsoccer.com: What are your plans for the big game?
DeMerit: I don’t know what the plans are yet. I know we have training, but hopefully we can get off and see a good game. I’m trying to bargain as many guys to get on my side as possible. So I might have to get my wallet out and start bribing people with snacks and sodas and hats and paraphernalia, and all sorts of things like that. It’ll be fun.
MLSsoccer.com: Do you have a cheesehead?
DeMerit: I do have a cheesehead, but I didn’t bring a carry-on to Arizona. But I did manage to find a foam football Packer hat that I will be debuting along with other Packer gear on Super Bowl Sunday.
MLSsoccer.com: What’s your prediction?
DeMerit: I think it’s going to be 34-27 for the Pack.