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Don't Totally Go Away, Jay

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He may be retiring, but given the strong connection Jay DeMerit had with Vancouver Whitecaps fans in this city, the club should look at retaining him in some way

Jeff Vinnick

Multiple reports say Whitecaps Captain Jay DeMerit is set to retire this week, an unfitting end for a great player and an unbelievable team ambassador for the city. Like YP Lee before him, DeMerit has recognized the right time to walk away from the team, the game, and begin the next chapter of his life. If it's possible, I think that next chapter should still involve the Whitecaps in some capacity.

DeMerit has been a fan favourite since day one, thanks to his aggressive, 'super-man' style of play on the pitch, and smooth, relate-able demeanor off of it. My first interview with an MLS player was with Jay DeMerit a few years ago, and I was understandably, and most likely visibly, nervous. That dissipated after about 10 seconds, when DeMerit introduced himself, and sounded absolutely nothing like a pro athlete; he sounded like a friendly next door neighbor, a guy you would like to have a beer with.

As the first Whitecap player and Captain in their MLS existence, DeMerit and the club are intertwined. So why not bring the guy back in some sort of off the field capacity, a la the previously mentioned YP Lee, or club ambassador Carl Valentine? If DeMerit is interested in a job, it would be a true missed opportunity to not bring him back, given the strong connection he's forged with people in the community.

It may become a reality, given DeMerit has recently shown interest in serving as an ambassador for the sport. I can't think of a better person to work in that capacity, to continue to help to grow the sport in this province. He has the people skills. I mean, if he can make an entire fan base think a mullet is an acceptable hairstyle in this day and age, it's pretty clear he has some influence.

If he doesn't go in that direction, DeMerit should try his hand at broadcasting. He's most recently done some work for ESPNFC as a World Cup analyst earlier this month, and he seems to be very comfortable in front of the camera. Plus, as a former USMNT, I imagine a few broadcasts would like what he brings to the table.

In any case, Eighty-Six Forever would like to thank Jay DeMerit for the past four years of his career, and wish him luck on whatever the future holds. Hopefully his future involves the City of Vancouver in some way.