Jay DeMerit is someone who can attest to the value of perseverance. After not making the professional leagues in the U.S., Jay left for Europe at the age of 23 without any professional experience – only a passport, $1500 and a backpack full of dreams.
Determined to join a team, he approached countless professional clubs throughout Europe for a chance to try-out. To make ends meet, he played in Sunday park leagues and lower level division London clubs earning only 40 pounds a week. He slept on floors and ate beans and toast in order to survive.
Eventually he joined a semi-professional team and after playing one game, earned his first professional contract. In 2007, DeMerit became the captain of the Watford FC team at the age of 27 (becoming the first US-born captain in the team’s history).
DeMerit went from barely scraping by, to creating a legacy. He became an instant hero in England when he helped his team earn promotion to the English Premier league by scoring the “40 million pound goal”, was one of the few players who got to play every minute of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and the list goes on. His most recent post was as Captain of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC where he retired in 2014, transitioning into an ambassador role for the team.
If your life is in a rut or you are suffering from a lack of hope then you should immediately listen to this speech. I knew a little bit about Jay’s background but even I did not know how much work he put into his career. After listening to this TEDx speech he has inspired me. There are so many times in his life when he could have easily given up and gone with his “backup plan.” Instead he kept fighting for his dreams and even when he achieved his initial goal he kept pushing for his next dream even if that just led to more setbacks. American soccer fans should be proud that this mean represented us at a World Cup. His work ethic should serve as an inspiration to every US soccer player coming up through the ranks that they can achieve their dream of playing professionally as long as they are willing to make sacrifices to get there.