VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today that the club has re-signed captain Jay DeMerit. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Whitecaps FC centre back Jay DeMerit
- First ‘Caps signing and captain in MLS
- Started 64 of 66 matches over last three seasons in all competitions
- Named to MLS All-Star First XI in 2012
- Started all four matches with the U.S. men's national team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup
- Former Watford FC captain
“As he has proven over the last three seasons, Jay is an important member of our club,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. “He’s a total leader, and he's someone who we had every intention of bringing back. His dedication and professionalism were on full display last season when he returned from a serious injury earlier than expected and proved that he could still compete at a high level. The experience, energy, and standards Jay brings to our group is second to none and we’re delighted that he has committed to continuing his career with our club.”
DeMerit talks to media about re-signing with Whitecaps FC
“When I came to Vancouver three years ago as the club’s first signing, we had a shared vision and commitment to making this club a successful one both on and off the field," said DeMerit.
"Our goal has been not only to create a team Whitecaps FC fans can be proud of but to continue to grow the game here in North America. Today, I'm happy to say that our commitment to that long-term goal can continue and I'm thrilled to be a part of this team and this organization. Vancouver has always felt like home and together with my wife, we have a sense of purpose and belonging here in BC. The fans of this club have always been tremendous. They deserve to have success and they deserve players who reflect the loyalty that they show us. With the strong nucleus we have created over the past few years, together with the young talent we will help grow, I believe the future of this club is bright and I look forward to being a part of it.”
DeMerit, 34, became Whitecaps FC’s first MLS signing on November 18, 2010. Since then, the inaugural MLS club captain has started 58 of 60 regular season matches with the ‘Caps for a total of 5,004 minutes. In addition, DeMerit started the 'Caps 2012 playoff match and has made five Amway Canadian Championship appearances.
Last season, DeMerit went down with a ruptured Achilles tendon minutes into Whitecaps FC’s season opener on March 2. After months of rehabilitation, DeMerit returned to action as a substitute on September 14 against San Jose Earthquakes and was named Budweiser Man of the Match for a heroic performance in a scoreless draw with San Jose Earthquakes. The Green Bay, Wisconsin native went on to play all 540 minutes of the club’s remaining six matches.
DeMerit’s second season in MLS was highlighted by a number of first-time achievements. In 2012, he scored his first MLS goal to help the ‘Caps capture their first road win in MLS, he recorded his first assist, and he became the first Whitecaps FC player to appear in an MLS All-Star Game. The centre back 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. Later in the year, DeMerit led the Blue and White to their first-ever MLS Cup Playoffs appearance.
Before joining Whitecaps FC in their inaugural MLS campaign in 2011, DeMerit enjoyed six seasons with England's Watford FC. He originally joined the Football League Championship side (second tier in England) in July 2004 following an impressive preseason friendly performance versus Watford as a trialist with semi-professional outfit Northwood FC of the Isthmian League Premier Division (seventh tier in England).
DeMerit quickly became a regular starter with Watford, and helped the Hertfordshire-based club earn promotion to the English Premier League by scoring the match-winning goal in the 2005-06 Championship playoff final over Leeds United FC. In total, DeMerit started 193 of 213 appearances in all competitions with The Hornets and scored 10 goals during that period.
The defender also played the 2003-04 season with Southall FC of the Combined Counties Football League (ninth tier in England), and spent one season with Chicago Fire Premier of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League in 2011. At the collegiate level, he was a starter at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the NCAA Division I from 1998 to 2001.
Internationally, DeMerit has earned 25 caps with the U.S. men's national team. Despite suffering a serious eye injury just months prior, the American centre back started all four of his country’s matches at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and helped the U.S. finish first in Group C.
Position: Centre back
Weight: 180 pounds
Date of Birth: December 4, 1979 in Green Bay, Wisconsin
Hometown: Green Bay, Wisconsin
Previous Club: Watford FC (English League Championship)
How Acquired: Free agent signing by Whitecaps FC on November 18, 2010
Whitecaps FC begin their 2014 MLS season on March 8 versus New York Red Bulls at BC Place. Season tickets start at just $349, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps also offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.