Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story

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When Jay DeMerit stepped onto the field to represent the United States at the 2010 World Cup it was truly an incredible moment. Jay had literally come from nowhere just years prior to being on the world’s greatest stage.

Jay DeMerit Header for Watford

This story may be about Jay but it is really about having a goal and never giving up. It is a film that anyone with a dream should watch.

Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story is the true story of a young American’s impossible journey – a journey never experienced or heard of in the soccer world. After college, Jay’s dream of playing pro soccer in Europe seemed unreachable. Sleeping in an attic, painting houses and eating beans and toast to survive, Jay took the most unlikely route to the top. After not making the professional leagues in the U.S., Jay left for Europe at the age of 21 without any professional experience – only a passport, $1500 and a backpack full of dreams. The film documents Jay’s journey from the bottom – playing in Sunday park leagues and lower level division London clubs earning 40 pounds a week — to playing in the English Premier League — to starting in the 2010 World Cup. The Jay DeMerit Story is a story of perseverance, hard work and relentless belief in a dream…it is a story that needs to be told. We are at a point where we have a near completed film but still need to license the rights to game footage and music. Help us finish Jay’s story and get it told.


Shot on three continents (in cities including Green Bay, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, London, Johannesburg, and Rustenburg) and featuring interviews from Jay’s teammates and coaches (including Bob Bradley and U.S. National Team players such as Tim Howard, Stu Holden, and Carlos Bocanegra) friends, family, teachers, mentors, and influences along the way. Also features game footage of world stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas, and many more. Includes behind the scene footage from Jay and his team at the 2010 World Cup straight from Jay’s camera.


Simply put, we want to get the film out to as many people as possible. It is a film with a universal message of hope and self-belief, taking place in the world of soccer but carrying over into all facets of life. We think it is a story that will inspire those who see it. In today’s new distribution environment for independent films, filmmakers can take an active role in distributing their films. We will explore all distribution options. We plan on taking the film on a tour throughout the country and elsewhere with Jay during his off-season and interacting with the fans who helped make this possible.


Kickstarter is the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. Every month tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, art, film, technology, design, food, and other creative fields. Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires.


If we don’t raise our goal, we don’t get anything. Donors pledge the amounts, but don’t actually pay until the goal is reached and the funding deadline has passed. We want to avoid this so please spread the word. Everything helps! When we meet our goal we will begin licensing the rights and finish the editing so that we can send you the DVD’s and merchandise as soon as possible.


This film is only going to be possible with the help of you (soccer fans, independent film fans, and anyone who loves a positive, inspiring story). We want this to be your film just as much as it is ours. The more people who Participate the more chance we have of getting the story out. To help out please Twitter it, “Like” us on Facebook, email this Kickstarter link and let your friends, teammates, supporter groups, and co-workers know about the film and this campaign. We would love for people to get involved on a local level. Email nicklewis@jaydemeritstory.com to get more information and become involved.

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