July 24, 2014
Read Jay's Open Letter
CHICAGO – UIC men’s soccer alum Jay DeMerit officially announced his retirement from professional soccer on Thursday, bringing his 10-year career to a close. DeMerit played in a total of 284 games during his tenure with Watford FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, while also making 26 appearances as a member of the U.S. national team.
"I’ve always been the kind of player who wears his heart on his sleeve – and it’s that heart that is telling me it’s time to stop. If I can’t be the player that I have always been, and play to a standard that I believe is high enough, then it’s time for me to smile, say thank you, and give my commitment to a new cause," DeMerit said in an open letter on the Whitecaps’ website.
While playing with Watford, DeMerit set himself apart after playing 211 games and scoring 10 goals, including the game-winner that promoted Watford to the English Premier League for the 2006-07 season. It was during this time that his unprecedented success as a center back caught the eye of the U.S. national team.
DeMerit was a star defenseman for the US after joining the team in 2007 and assisted in historic runs in the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup. DeMerit started all four games against England, Slovenia, Algeria and Ghana at the World Cup in South Africa, where the U.S. won its group for the first time since 1930.
DeMerit made his transition into Major League Soccer after being the first signee of the Whitecaps heading into the 2011 season. DeMerit captained the squad since his arrival and made a total of 73 appearances in the process, adding one goal and one assist to his stat line. In 2012, DeMerit led the Whitecaps to its first MLS Cup Playoff appearance and was named to the MLS All-Star First XI.
With his playing career at a close, DeMerit plans to continue to work with the Whitecaps as a club ambassador.
During his career at UIC from 1998-2001, DeMerit assisted the Flames with two conference championships and NCAA Tournament runs in 1999 and 2000. His status as UIC’s top defender led him to three NSCAA All-Midwest Region selections while he started 73 of 80 games played and scored 11 goals with 14 assists.