Jay DeMerit

June 23, 2010 - Tshwane/Pretoria, Guateng, South Africa - 23 JUN 2010: Jay DeMerit (USA). The United States National Team defeated the Algeria National Team 1-0 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa in a 2010 FIFA World Cup Group C match.

Position: Center Back

Club: Watford (England)

Club Career

Jay Demerit, more than any other current US player, reflects the American ideal of moving up the social ladder, though, in his case, the ‘rungs’ would be the various divisions of English soccer.  Unheralded out of college, DeMerit journeyed to England in 2003 to try to find a club.  A successful audition for Southall, a team in the 9th division, met with success.  The following season saw a jump to the 7th division with Northwood, but Demerit never became a major contributor there because a fine performance in a friendly against 2nd division side Watford led to the manager offering Jay a contract.  His fairy tale continued over the next few seasons as DeMerit was appointed captain of the squad and helped the team achieve promotion to the prestigious English Premier League (link – though Watford has since been relegated to the 2nd division).  A bizarre accident with a contact lens in 2009 required surgery and kept DeMerit from participating in the first half of the 09-10 season, but he recuperated and is once more a sturdy presence on Watford’s backline.

National Team

Due to beginning his career in anonymity, Jay never played for the US youth national team (link – most national pool prospects begin playing for their country in their early teens), and so his debut match in 2007 was his first for his country at any level.  Sporadic appearances over the next few years had DeMerit on Bob Bradley’s radar as a potential World Cup backup, but his play in the summer of 2009 increased his importance in the manager’s eyes.  DeMerit was called upon to fill in at center back for injured starter (and captain) Carlos Bocanegra in the Confederations Cup.  Jay performed so well that he kept his place when Bocanegra returned, and the captain was moved to left back.  The previously mentioned eye injury prevented him from playing in the USMNT’s final World Cup qualifiers of 2010, but a complete recovery surely has Bradley tempted to start US Soccer’s Cinderella in the hopes that his magic will lead to a South African fairy tale.

Official US Soccer Bio

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