Tuesday, May 23, 2006

How an American brought great fame to Watford

Most of us figured an American would play a big role in the Leeds-Watford match this past weekend, but we probably figured it would be Eddie Lewis that made the news.

However, it was a different countryman that made the morning papers when Jay DeMerit (pictured) got, what turned out to be, the winning goal in the 25th minute.

But who is DeMerit? He is from Green Bay and he grew up wanting to play the great game of soccer, but that's not the easiest thing to do in the US.

The International Herald Tribune gives a write up of this young man from the land where Lombardi is still king.

Two years ago, after high school in Wisconsin and college at the University of Illinois and a series of rejections in his chosen sport, DeMerit gathered his savings - all $2,000 of it - and flew to London in search of fame and a game.

He learned, as he said Sunday, to live on hope and baked beans on toast.

In his first season, playing Sunday league for $40 a game, there probably weren't many beans on his toast. Then he got a break with Northwood FC, a semipro team ranking six divisions below the English Premier League.

Northwood played a preseason match against Watford. The team like what they saw and hired him on. He then helped his new side earn $50 million in television and sponsorship fees by making it into the Premiership.

Not bad for a someone who failed in his attempt to make the Chicago Fire's reserve team.

It will be interesting to watch Watford next year as they might be the '06-'07 version of Wigan.


Anonymous Susan said...

Thanks for the background on Jay DeMerit. Pretty unlikely for me to be able to say there's an Illinois alum (like me) in the Premiership next year. I hope FSC telecasts a few Watford games.
OK, so there's some correlation between love of Nutella & love of soccer? I guess that explains why I'm eating Nutella from the jar right now.

12:15 PM  
Blogger I-66 said...

This was a win-win situation for the US soccer fan. Though most of us are more familiar with Eddie Lewis, having another american in the Prem is a good deal.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Nick and Dan said...

Can't wait till he comes home and signs some autographs... I'll make the 2 hour drive to see him! Wisconsin!!!

8:19 PM  

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