July 16, 2012
CHICAGO - Former UIC men's soccer standout Jay DeMerit, whose epic journey to the top of the professional soccer world was featured in the independent film "RISE & SHINE: The Jay DeMeritStory," visited Flames Field last week with the Vancouver Whitecaps in preparation for the club's match against the Chicago Fire. The success of the film has now made its impact on iTunes, where it is one of the top documentaries available.
The movie is now available on iTunes in 33 countries - over the past several days, it has gone from being unranked to #17 in iTunes documentaries, passing studio films that featured the likes of Mike Tyson, Ayrton Senna and Anderson Silva. The film is currently ranked #9 in the sports category on iTunes.
DeMerit starred at UIC from 1998-2001, earning NSCAA All-Midwest honors and All-Horizon League plaudits in three separate seasons. He was a major factor for UIC's first two conference champion and NCAA Tournament teams in 1999 and 2000 - DeMerit scored 11 goals and tallied 14 assists during his playing career with the Flames.
"RISE AND SHINE" was co-directed by filmmakers Ranko Tutulugdzijaand Nick Lewis of Truth2Life Productions. The sports documentary follows DeMerit's heart-tugging transition from undrafted high school and collegiate athlete to lauded professional and internationally respected soccer star.
The 92-minute film traces the Green Bay, Wis., native's journey from failed tryouts with Major League Soccer through early frustrations in English football's lowest divisions. In an inspiring sports tale, DeMerit ultimately triumphs in soccer glory becoming a captain for England's Watford FC and joining Team USA as a hard-charging center halfback at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.