Jay DeMerit at Watford

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Jay Demerit playing at Watford: U.S. Soccer visits England with MNT defender Jay DeMerit. After impressing Watford manager Ray Lewington in a friendly in 2004, DeMerit rose through the ranks and wore the captain’s armband for the Hornets.

Jay DeMerit Header for Watford

US Soccer caught up with the defender in England earlier this year and got an inside look at the Green Bay native’s life overseas.

This is a very scary story and must have been intense to go through for Demerit. He still has some issues with his depth perception and it’s harder to play at night. DeMerit had eye surgery at one of the world’s leading eye hospitals and underwent a corneal transplant in mid-October:

In mid-September, a bacterial infection arose in DeMerit’s right eye like a sudden storm. Within 24 hours, 70 percent of the tissue in the cornea had essentially melted. He could barely see his fingers in front of his face. He worried that he might not be able to play in the World Cup. Or that he might have to retire from soccer altogether.

“I was freaking out,” said DeMerit, who is the captain of Watford in the League Championship, a tier below the English Premier League. “I realized, I’m not going to play ever unless I get this fixed. No way I could play with one eye.”

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