Now in theaters, Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story. This is a documentary about DeMerit, stalwart World Cup defender for the U.S. Men’s National Team, veteran of English Football’s top two divisions, who now plays for the Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS. This is the story of a dude from Green Bay, WI, who after college soccer at University of Illinois-Chicago (and a low-ball/non-existent offer from MLS), decided to strap on his backpack and head to Europe to try to land a pro soccer contract. Jay and a college buddy, both of whom had no real money, working side-jobs as bar-tenders, playing in a semi-pro pub league, and basically hopping on trains and buses to try to attend try-outs.
They did have a video camera to record some portions of the journey. And Jay, as it turns out, has some game also. If you tuned in to last summer’s World Cup, and watched him mark Wayne Rooney out of the game, you already know that. DeMerit eventually caught on with Watford, in England’s second division, where he played for years. Now he’s back on this side of the Atlantic, and some enterprising film-makers used some of that video footage, game footage, and series of interviews to do this documentary.