[MLS SPOTLIGHT]Jay DeMerit, who was a bartender and bouncer when he got out of college before embarking on a soccer career that took him from the ninth flight of English soccer to the World Cup, says he has no regrets following his decision to retire from the Vancouver Whitecaps on Thursday.
"When it makes sense, when it's right, it's not sad," DeMerit said during a news conference. "It's not something I am going to regret. It's something I am very proud of."
The decision came six weeks after he tore a tendon in his left ankle in a 3-3 draw with the Philadelphia Union. He came back from a torn Achilles heel suffered on the first day of the 2013 season, but he knew this was different.
"Watching the guys play it just kind of dawned on me 'I think these days are over,'" the 34-year-old said. "I looked down and saw an ankle with one real tendon. I didn't think I had it in me anymore."
DeMerit was the first signed player for the Whitecaps' MLS launch in 2011, and he was heir captain. He played 71 games over for seasons.
"I've always been the kind of player who wears his heart on his sleeve and it's that heart that's telling me it's time to stop," he said in a letter he wrote to Vancouver fans. "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."
He had begun his career in England on a Sunday league team and eventually ended up at Watford for which he was man of the match in its playoff match that earned it promotion to the Premier League in 2006. Four years later, he started for the USA at the World Cup.
DeMerit married last summer to Winter Olympic gold-medalist Ashleigh McIvor whom he met at an event put on by Whitecaps' Bell Canada sponsor.