Position: Central Defender
From: Northwood - free transfer - July 2004
Career stats: Soccerbase
He is: Living the American Dream
Past Profiles: September 2005
When Jay Demerit came to England as an unknown central defender from the American ‘School of Soccer’ he had just nine hundred pounds with him and the desire to succeed. After trials, rejections and a spell with Northwood, he found himself catapulted up into the second tier of English football.
It was a steep learning curve for the Green Bay born stopper who learned, under the tutelage of Neil Cox and Sean Dyche, that any mistake at that level is costly. A relegation fight isn’t anyone’s idea of a good season, but it must be all the more daunting in your first season in professional football. With Watford quickly descending towards the bottom of the table and injuries forcing Ray Lewington’s hand in defence, Demerit found himself in the starting line-up, making his debut on December the eleventh and putting in some solid defensive displays over the notoriously difficult Christmas/New Year period. These displays included his first Watford goal, a low drive from some twenty yards in a three-one victory over Crewe. Demerit’s other two goals over the course of that season also proved vital, earning four points.
In the end Demerit’s displays, along with the rest of the 2004/2005 squad, ensured survival in the Championship, but it came at a cost – the departure of Ray Lewington and the arrival of Aidy Boothroyd. Demerit’s place became uncertain as Boothroyd ruthlessly ripped through the squad, but the American was kept on and after an impressive pre-season found himself inhabiting the number six shirt and part of Aidy Boothroyd’s unlikely push for promotion.
Demerit had a shaky start to the 2005/2006 season, with Watford in transition, and found himself dropped from the team. However he recovered and alongside the experienced Malky Mackay and Clarke Carlisle, he blossomed and his defensive performances grew strong beyond his years and experience. He became a key part of the Watford side which found themselves towards the summit of the table against all the odds. As the season came towards its climax, Carlisle was injured and Demerit was faced with a play-off campaign in only his second season of professional football. Commendable performances in the semi-finals against Crystal Palace saw Demerit preparing for a Cardiff Final, just ninety minutes away from the Premiership. His final couldn’t have got off to a better start, scoring his third goal of the season after twenty-five minutes. A shut-out performance from the defence saw Watford finish three-nil winners and, having won promotion, Demerit was rewarded with a contract extension taking him through to the summer of 2009 as a Watford player. A call-up to the 2006 US World Cup squad surely beckoned but Bruce Arena overlooked him.
Demerit’s career displays a fairy-tale story of ‘Rags to Riches’ and as he joins fellow Americans Tim Howard, Brian McBride, Bobby Convey, Carlos Bocanegra and Marcus Hahnemann in the Premiership, a call up to the international scene will surely follow.
Last updated: August 2006