Vancouver Whitecaps FC announced today that centre back Jay DeMerit will be the club's inaugural Major League Soccer captain. DeMerit will take over as the 20th men's team captain since the club's first season in 1974.
"Jay has played at a very high level and is one of the most experienced players in the group," said Whitecaps FC head coach Teitur Thordarson. "His playing ability and his leadership is a very good combination. We are lucky to have Jay as our captain."
DeMerit has served as a team captain in his career, having worn the armband at English League Championship and former English Premier League side Watford FC. The native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, enjoyed six exemplary seasons with Watford. He scored the match-winning goal in the 2006 League Championship playoff final over Leeds United FC, as Watford earned promotion to the English Premier League for the 2006-07 season. Following the 2008-09 season, DeMerit received the Community Ambassador award in recognition of his charity and community work with Watford.
"It's a tremendous honour and a proud moment for me to be named captain of Whitecaps FC," said DeMerit. "It's a great challenge to lead the club from the start. That's what I was brought to Vancouver to do and that's what I plan to do, so I'm really excited about the opportunity and I look forward to being a big part of this organization."
Internationally, DeMerit has made 23 appearances with the United States national team, with his most recent appearances seeing the defender start all four matches for his country during last summer's FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The 30-year-old helped the USA finish first in Group C and advance to the knockout stages before falling in extra time to Ghana. As a member of the American squad, DeMerit started all five of USA's matches in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, as he helped form the backbone of The Stars and Stripes' defence that reached the tournament final against Brazil.
A native of Vancouver, BC, Dunfield returned home last August to play for Whitecaps FC in the USSF D-2 Pro League after spending 14 years in England. The midfielder began his career in the youth system at Manchester City FC before suiting up for Bury FC, Macclesfield Town FC, and Shrewsbury Town FC.
Thorrington comes to Vancouver after six seasons with MLS side Chicago Fire. Selected in the 2010 MLS Expansion Draft, Thorrington is a former Manchester United FC youth player and also had spells in Europe with German Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen and English clubs Huddersfield Town FC and Grimsby Town FC.
Fans should take note that kickoff for the home match against Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, September 24, has been changed to 7:30 p.m. PT. The match is the club's final contest at Empire Field before moving to BC Place in early October.
Whitecaps FC also confirmed today that trialists Kyle Porter and Ryan O'Leary are no longer with the team, while midfielder/striker Ridge Mobulu has returned to Vancouver and is now training with the Whitecaps FC Residency team.
Whitecaps FC Major League Soccer 2011 season tickets start at a base price of $319, plus applicable tax and a $10 processing fee per order, and more than 60 per cent of seats are available for less than $31 per game. To secure a seat and for additional information about Whitecaps FC MLS season tickets, suites, and loge boxes, call 604.669.9283 or visit whitecapsfc.com. Information on single match tickets will be available next week.
About Vancouver Whitecaps FC
In 1974, Vancouver Whitecaps FC played their inaugural season in the North American Soccer League, and in 1979, the club won the NASL Soccer Bowl championship. From 1987 to 1992, as a member of the Canadian Soccer League, Vancouver won four straight CSL titles. In 2002, Whitecaps FC created a full club model that encompasses professional teams for men and women, extensive youth development and grassroots participation programs, facility development, and the Whitecaps Foundation to support specific initiatives related to health and wellness through soccer. Since 2004, Whitecaps FC have won two United Soccer Leagues First Division championships and two USL W-League championships. In 2011, Whitecaps FC will begin their inaugural season in Major League Soccer at Empire Field before moving into the new BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver in early October.