Civic pride. That unconditional love for the place you call home.
If you’ve lived in your hometown long enough, you’ve felt it.
In these parts we are definitely a proud bunch.
We’re proud to live in the Pacific Northwest. We’re proud to be Canadian. Most of all, we’re proud to call Vancouver home.
So when intruders visit from evil empires such as Montreal, Toronto, Seattle, and Portland, we defend our city.
But how does that pride resonate with someone who was not born and raised in Vancouver? Someone who was not always well acquainted with this city, but has been tasked with representing it with the utmost passion?
If you ask Vancouver Whitecaps FC captain Jay DeMerit, motivation is not hard to find.
“The thing I love about this city is that it can really grip you in a lot of different ways,” says DeMerit, a native of Green Bay, Wisconsin.
And it certainly has gripped the ‘Caps All Star centre back.
It was here in Vancouver where he met the love of his life, Canadian Olympic Ski Cross Gold Medalist Ashleigh McIvor. The two got together after mingling at a Canucks game, at the Bell Box – “a big thank you to our partner on that one” smiles DeMerit.
Falling in love with a local hero has blossomed his love for British Columbia and all it has to offer.
“In my opinion, BC has the best outdoor playground in the world. Ashleigh has been a fantastic tour guide to introduce me to the nature of beautiful BC. You can be in the hot springs one afternoon, go ski the next day, and surf the day after that. There are few places in the world where you can do that and I’m happy to call this home.”
Late last year he proposed to Ashleigh on a beautiful hike in Pemberton, and he couldn’t be happier – something he notes as key to performing well on the field.
“I met my fiancée here and I’ve been able to take my life to the next level,” says the World Cup veteran. “That’s what we all want in our lives and our careers, and this city has allowed me to do that on both ends.”
In talking to DeMerit – who lives in Gastown – you can easily tell that he has developed a deep respect for Van City. He describes the strong character of the city in terms of design, and people. In his own words, “It’s nice to come home and feel comfortable in a place.”
“You have all the different parts, from Yaletown, to Gastown, to the downtown core. All of these areas give you different elements, but its all part of a city that seems to be very together.”
And having a united city is exactly what DeMerit wants to see.
“I came here to help Vancouver Whitecaps FC grow and to be an organization that is not only successful, but one that is renowned throughout the world, and I think we have the makings of that with the people behind us.”
Building a successful club is a big responsibility, and the American takes his role as captain very seriously. He has no doubts about the future though, one in which the support of Vancouverites continues to grow.
“It’s an amazing place to be a part of,” continued DeMerit in his praise. “To be two years in and to be among the best attended clubs, and to see the stadium fit to the environment, that’s been incredible.
“And still yet to have room to grow, that means that we’re all in the right place.”