Over the course of the history of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, a number of players who have played for the club at one point or another have also represented their country at the FIFA World Cup. As we approach the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, we will feature players of years’ past who made it to soccer’s pinnacle event.
A proud native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Jay DeMerit began his rags to riches rise to professional soccer in the ninth tier of English soccer at Southall, followed by Northwood. His big break to the professional ranks came in July of 2014 when he was scouted during a friendly match by Championship side Watford FC. Two years later he headed in the winning goal in the promotion playoff to send Watford to the English Premier League.
DeMerit was the first ever MLS signing by Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and went on to become the club’s first MLS captain. He started 69 of his 71 regular season appearances for the ‘Caps, scoring the winning goal in the team’s first road victory.
He would lead the Blue and White to the club’s first ever playoff appearance in 2012. However he would rupture his Achilles tendon six minutes into the 2013 season. He fought hard to recover and return for the 2014 season before retiring as a ‘Caps player in July of that year.
After rising to the Premier League, DeMerit was called into the United States men’s national team in 2007, winning the Concacaf Gold Cup with his country later that year. Two years later he started for the U.S. team that snapped Spain’s 35-gane undefeated streak, making it to the 2009 Confederations Cup final – the first world final for the USMNT.
His ultimate national team honour came in 2010, when he started all four matches for the United States at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
FUN FACT: Since retiring, DeMerit has put his design degree to work through his Portmanteau Stereo company. He became the second World Cup ‘Caps alum to appear on Dragon’s Den in 2017, joining former goalkeeper Sven Habermann.