By DAN KARELL
With all the uncertainty surrounding the Vancouver Whitecaps this offseason, fans can take solace that their captain is sticking around for next season.
The club announced on Monday afternoon that they’ve re-signed captain Jay DeMerit to a new contract. Per league and team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
DeMerit missed nearly all of last season with an Achilles injury suffered mere minutes into the season opener. However, the former U.S. Men’s National Team defender worked all summer and was able to make seven appearances and six starts in the final two months of the season.
“As he has proven over the last three seasons, Jay is an important member of our club,” Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson said in a club statement. “He’s a total leader, and he’s someone who we had every intention of bringing back. His dedication and professionalism were on full display last season when he returned from a serious injury earlier than expected and proved that he could still compete at a high level.
“The experience, energy, and standards Jay brings to our group is second to none and we’re delighted that he has committed to continuing his career with our club.”
Last year, the 34-year-old defender made $325,000 base salary and $375,000 in guaranteed compensation, but it’s likely that he’s taken a salary cut to stay with the Whitecaps. Re-signing DeMerit is one of the few positive moves the club has made this offseason, dealing with the Camilo transfer fiasco and the new Andre Lewis contract confusion.
DeMerit joined the Whitecaps in November 2010, becoming the club’s first signing ahead of their inaugural MLS season. DeMerit’s story is a famous one in American soccer circles, working his way up the English soccer ladder from the seventh division all the way to the English Premier League with Watford. DeMerit’s play also earned him a call-up to the USMNT, representing his nation at the 2009 Confederations Cup and starting all four games for the USMNT at the 2010 World Cup.
“When I came to Vancouver three years ago as the club’s first signing, we had a shared vision and commitment to making this club a successful one both on and off the field,” DeMerit said in a statement. “Our goal has been not only to create a team Whitecaps FC fans can be proud of but to continue to grow the game here in North America. Today, I’m happy to say that our commitment to that long-term goal can continue and I’m thrilled to be a part of this team and this organization.”
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