Jay DeMerit hopes to play in MLS

Updated: October 12, 2010, 1:23 PM ET
By Jeff Carlisle | ESPN.com

After spending the last four months looking for a new club, U.S. international defender Jay DeMerit says he is pursuing a return stateside and is looking to sign a contract with MLS.

DeMerit's contract with English Championship side Watford expired last May, and he had hoped to parlay his showing in the World Cup, in which he played every minute of every game for the Americans, into a new deal in Europe. Various reports had linked DeMerit with English Premier League side Everton, as well as Wolfsburg of the German Bundesliga.

But given the tepid state of the player market in Europe, DeMerit indicated via e-mail that signing with MLS is now his preferred option.

"Since playing back in the U.S. was always something I wanted to do, and have yet to do, it seems like the time is right," he said.

Without delving into specifics, DeMerit indicated that several MLS sides have shown interest. Earlier reports had expansion side Vancouver chasing the U.S. defender, and given that the Whitecaps occupy the top spot in the league's allocation rankings for U.S. international players, they would appear to have the inside track.

It is by no means a certainty that he'll end up in British Columbia. Should DeMerit prefer to play elsewhere, Vancouver could always trade the top spot in exchange for draft picks or players.

DeMerit spent the early portion of his career with the Chicago Fire's entry in the USL Premier Development League, which comprises the fourth tier of U.S. soccer, and a return to the Midwest would appear to suit the Green Bay, Wisc., native. A Fire spokesman denied that the team was pursuing DeMerit, however. DeMerit also didn't completely rule out the possibility of staying in Europe.

"Until I sign a contract with any club, of course I'm open to anything," he said. "But my main focus at the moment is coming back to the MLS. I know things can always change in a second in this sport."

Jeff Carlisle covers soccer for ESPN.com.

Jeff Carlisle | email

U.S. soccer correspondent
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC.