Misplayed? DeMerit To Whitecaps In Offing

More than one source and numerous web sites say that Jay DeMerit to MLS’s new north-of-the-border franchise, the Vancouver Whitecaps, is a done deal with the signing to be announced tomorrow.

DeMerit, set to be announced by purveyors of BC Bud?

A puzzling outcome for DeMerit, who gambled on not re-upping his Watford deal last year and betting a strong World Cup (solid if not spectacular as it turned out) could be parlayed into a big contract at a strong European league.

In September, DeMerit made a few statements in a British radio interview, including:

I’m just being patient, but I want to get something sorted out…..I’m not trying to chase an opportunity….I’m in the luxury of being able to choose what I want to do

and

If nothing happens, I’ll look to go back to the States in January

Just last month, we started to get signs that it was MLS-or-bust for DeMerit: an appearance at the Mall of America in Minnesota and visiting with the USMNT that was in town in Chicago.

So what happened?

Well, first, this is no slight on Vancouver, but DeMerit made it clear he wanted to stay in Europe.

It clearly appears that DeMerit, 31 in a few weeks, battling injuries the past few years fell victim to lack of leverage and home grown rules (Italy and England) being instituted across Europe.

Why offer a multi-year deal to an aging American central defender? Surely the next year, another foreigner will be available who is perhaps younger and maybe meets your native quota.

It appears DeMerit’s agents, gambled here and, well, didn’t come out with the ultimate deal.

Our sentiments below from some commentary we had in the situation back in September.

………………………..

From September:

Puzzling...

 

DeMerit

I find the Jay DeMerit situation rather puzzling. Here’s a player (and his agent) who knew they were playing out their Watford contract last year and rolling the dice on a solid World Cup to pump his value.

In essence DeMerit’s agent could begin negotiating with teams–or at the very least–selling his agent’s wares to clubs way back in January 2010!

That DeMerit, a noted good teammate and battle-tested veteran, is still without home is mind-boggling and for him must be concerning.

Unfounded tabloid rumors (apologies for picking these up on our site) had him going anywhere from Wolfsburg to Everton.

While those clubs might be stretches, it is also concerning that neither a club with injury troubles (Wolfsburg) or a club with huge defensive issues (Everton) has taken a flyer on DeMerit.

Now, Jay and his agent are probably angling for more than a year deal, but at this point–with the season aging–it perhaps would be best for DeMerit to just take an offer to keep his name–and play–in the media.

That hasn’t happened.

I’ve tried to reach DeMerit’s agent a number of times–I do not have a rapport with him, but my guess is that back and eye issues that have trouble DeMerit are also troubling clubs from giving him any more than one year deal, if that.

….and that also makes DeMerit a poor selection for the Vancouver Whitecaps as a designated player.

A look around the league shows a near flawless pattern of MLS teams sign designated players help–read: dominate–in attack.

It’s not rocket science. Bringing in an accomplished attacker (most recently: Henry, NYRB and SJE with Geovanni) makes sense because scoring in any league is at a premium.

Heck, even the Red Bulls have used their 2nd D.P. signing Rafa Marquez further up the pitch than his predominant pedigree to allow them to push attackers further up the field.

DeMerit–in this interview–suggested he wouldn’t look to MLS until the January window, but Vancouver would not be wise to spend their top D.P. dollars on him.

First, the Whitecaps have given up the least goals in the USSF D-2. Their challenge at a higher level next year will be–surprise–on offense, not defense.

They’ve got a cohesive unit in the back with Nelson Anwari and D.C. United vet Greg Janicki fronting established keeper Jay Nolly and in their reserves they got up-and-comers Ethan Gage and La’Vere Corbin.

I’m not saying DeMerit wouldn’t strengthen that group, but spending D.P. dollars on a player that is arguably more marketable in the States, has a history of injury problems and adding him into the chemistry mix in area of the field that is already a strength is probably not the best choice for the Whitecaps as they enter the league.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/11/18 at 4:59 PM

    DeMerit’s move to Vancouver got me thinking.Do you think that MLS expansion is happening too quickly? Don’t you think that it would be better to grow more slowly? Obviously there are *some* very good players in MLS but the talent pool isn’t there to support the teams that have recently been added, then there are a few more teams coming in the next few seasons. I feel that they should be less aggressive with growing the number of teams in the MLS and try and improve the overall quality. Maybe it’s a chicken and egg scenario, I don’t know, but I think we’ll just see a more and more watered down league with more and more average players. Especially with the salary cap, you will see more and more mediocre players playing on a team with 2 DPs. MLS needs more quality and until the academies start producing players, they need to spend some money (that they don’t have).

    Reply

    • Posted by Kevin on 2010/11/18 at 6:06 PM

      1) DP’s don’t affect the salary cap. It affects how much money the club has, but not the salary cap. You may already be pushing the salary cap, but if you still have room on your roster and you can afford it you can still sign a DP.
      2) Academies are slowly starting to produce players. Not very many academies and less so for the quantity of good players, but still you’re still seeing teams make signings. Andy Najar, Tristan Bowen, Francisco Navas Cobos are three signed. I know my Dynamo team have signed two from the academy, but DC has signed I think like 3 or 4. It will just take time to start developing good players.
      3) The league intends to stop expanding for a while after they reach about 20.
      4) This is just a “I know a guy who knows a guy” type of source, but I heard that clubs like Barcelona were starting to set up camps in Houston. If this is true I’m sure there are others in other markets. From Barcelona and probably other big clubs as well. I can’t really confirm this, but this would be a great step in developing good American players.

      Reply

    • The talent level in MLS is something that FreeBeerMovement and I have discussed a lot in recent years. Having all of these DPs does add some pomp and flash to the league. Though, we all know soccer is a team game and one player (unless they are in the RICHEST VEIN OF FORM ever) cannot carry a team to success for an entire season without help from those around him. Teams with DPs should really focus on bringing in better, more consistent mid-level talent/water carriers to help shoulder the load. Doing this will not only improve the quality on the field, but it’ll also make DPs shine even brighter. Prime Example – Thierry Henry and Juan Pablo Angel are goalscorers, and each is capable of moments of individual brilliance, but they need service to be ultimately successful.

      Also, this 20 teams thing has me a bit perturbed. 20 teams is a good size for a league that plays a balanced schedule, but I fear with only 20 teams, this vast nation will be starved for soccer at the highest level. I hope in this 20 team plan they’re tossing around they really consider promotion and relegation somewhere down the line when the league can better support it. Having a promotion and relegation system in place, similar to European Leagues, would make going to an NSC Stars game more worthwhile. It’s tough to watch these games because it feels like the movie “Waiting” – you’re stuck in a dead-end job and it’s tough to get out.

      The professional sports teams as franchises model has worked well in this country (and Canada with respect to MLS and the NHL) for the last 100+ years, but I believe the MLS can grow even more, and do better than it has in its first 15 years, if the clubs gaining entrance into the league do so via a more grassroots movement of getting better and better until they can hang with the big boys. I’m not proposing a complete opening of the floodgates to the free market system and no salary caps. However, letting the league (and lower leagues) ebb and flow on its own a little more will see the cream rising to the top and teams would be forced to improve the on-the-field quality to keep up.

      Reply

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