As I wrote yesterday, USMNT and free agent Jay DeMerit is reportedly in negotiations with the Vancouver White Caps. This is hardly the first time that DeMerit is rumored to be signing with a club. If you google 'Jay DeMerit', and any combination of 'Rumors', 'Impending Signing', and 'What's Taking So Long', you will most likely get hit upon hit that links him to German teams, French teams, Spanish teams, and English teams of all levels. Soccer insiders are not quite sure why he has not latched on to a team but it is definitely not due to a lack of talent.
Are teams taking Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski's "Soccernomics" advice of avoiding signing World Cup players right after the World Cup a little too seriously? Is DeMerit's agent giving him bad advice? Does DeMerit want a club to retire at? Has anyone checked to make sure that Jay's phone is working? Maybe he has one of those new I-phones...
Regardless of the scenario, I hope that the Fire front office is aggressively tracking Jay DeMerit down so an offer can at least be made. More after the jump....
1. The Fire should take a serious look at Jay DeMerit because C.J. Brown is contemplating retiring and Wilman Conde is a free agent at the end of the year. If you think the defense is bad now, just wait until our CB anchors are Kwame Watson-Siriboe and we are begging Dasan Robinson to move over to CB and put in a performance like he did against Toronto FC on September 8 this year. I wouldn't mind giving Kwame a look and Dasan could be a good emergency option, but the Fire are in serious trouble if they lose both Brown and Conde. Who will captain the back? What kind of respect will the LBs and RBs give while they continue to compete for their jobs? Sign Jay DeMerit and everyone knows who to listen to. If C.J. Brown is retiring, make DeMerit captain of the team. If Brown is staying, DeMerit can be the enforcer while Brown is the leader. If Conde wants to stay for cheap/isn't getting any offers he likes because his 2010 campaign has been subpar, anyone for a 5-3-2?
2. The Fire should take a serious look at Jay DeMerit because he is as local as it gets for a Midwestern in the MLS. Jay grew up in Green Bay, WI. He went to high school at Bay Port in Green Bay and went to college right in town at the University of Illinois-Chicago. The Fire even had him on the Chicago Fire Premier team but once he finished school and the trial was over, the Fire and every other MLS team failed to sign him. DeMerit left for England and has played with UK club teams ever since, mainly Watford F.C. He might have a bit of chip on his shoulder about the Fire not signing him back then but things turned out all right for him. I'd love to bring him back into the fold of Chicago. He would be the perfect marketing replacement for Brian McBride. Sure DeMerit is not quite as recognizable but it is easy to get behind the local guy.
3. The Fire should take a serious look at Jay DeMerit because the Fire are playing soft right now and Chicago at its heart is a defensive town. Everyone in this town is a Bears fan, at least a little bit. There is something about the team that brings out even a small fandom when the team is rolling. Maybe it is because Solider Field is on Lake Michigan or because the Bears history goes back so far but I think it's more than that.
The Bears always have a good defense. The offense could be terrible but the defense is always, always stellar. When the Bears went 13-3 in 2001, it was primarily on a series of interceptions, fumble recoveries and just flat out luck. Even when they made it to the Super Bowl in 2006, it was on the backs of a solid defense and special teams unit that blocked everything in sight for Devin Hester. Sure that Hester kid has some talent but his great blocking of his teammates was overlooked. Bears fans will always tout the defense and many will say they are fans because the constant presence of a powerful defense 'fits' Chicago. If you live in Chicago for at least three years, you get this. If you don't get it, you should think about moving. I can't describe it past 'you get this'. It takes living here to know what I mean.
IMO, the Fire should always have a great defense too. It's what this city is. We aren't glitzy, we just get things done. Signing Jay DeMerit would make sure we don't fall on the defensive line. Signing Jay DeMerit would open up a potential three headed monster of DeMerit-Brown-Conde. Let's do this, it is Chicago who should be the first team to sign a defensive designated player
If they can't sign DeMerit, something needs to be done to toughen up this club. People don't fear coming into Toyota Park. I mentioned the September 8th game vs. Toronto FC and how Dasan Robinson gave a great performance. What I didn't mention is that Toronto fouled themselves into a nice little draw and now we sit 5 points behind them instead of 2. When teams see that they can out foul Chicago 22-7 at home and come out of Toyota Park with their star players in one piece, what is the incentive not to try and bully this team around? We need an enforcer and DeMerit is available for hire. Make an inquiry at least. Jay DeMerit should know exactly what it's like to be from Chicago... even if he is a cheese head by birth, I think he is a Chicagoan by heart.