January 13th, 2012
Kickette Interview: Jay DeMerit Talks Hardships & Haircuts
With his biographical film premiering in the UK on January 17th, we figured now was the best time to have a chat with USMNT/Vancouver Whitecaps footballer turned movie star, Jay DeMerit.
Needless to say, we had a great time grilling Jay until he was visibly uncomfortable.
RISING & SHINING WITH JAY DEMERIT
Q: What’s the very first thing you do when you ‘rise & shine’ every morning?
A: I’m not a huge breakfast eater but because I gotta get some fuel in me I usually get up and grab some coffee. I’m not a very good sleeper at night and am up all the time so coffee gets me going in the morning.
Q: What do you sleep in? Are you a silk pyjamas kind of man? Boxers? Nothing?
A: It’s usually just me and my boxer briefs. I’m always in boxer briefs, even right now I’m wearing my thermal ones.
Q: Ooh, sounds warm! So about your movie…it chronicles your leap of faith move to England with only a few hundred quid in your pocket. As passionate shoppers ourselves, we couldn’t imagine living off so little for so long. Did you ever have a plan B just in case things did work out as planned/you couldn’t resist shopping some of the post-Christmas sales?
A: Back then, I was still a college student and was able to live frugally since I knew what it was like to life on pasta and cans of beans. All through college I lived cheaply so that carried me through most of the first year in England. Plus I didn’t have to pay rent while living with Kieran in his mom’s attic and I did earn a little bit. £40 a week to be exact.
Q: The attic?! Please describe.
A: It was a furnished attic and we climbed an industrial ladder to get up to our room. It did have a skylight, so that was nice. Kieran had a futon, I slept on a mattress on the floor and we had one dresser to share. It doesn’t sound great but it definitely wasn’t the worst living situation I’ve ever seen. It was a roof over my head and it gave me the chance to go pursue my dreams.
Q: Talk to us about the mullet/faux hawk you were sporting during your Watford days. What inspired the style and more importantly, what caused you to finally get rid of it?
A: Well I shaved it myself because I was tired of getting hair and sweaty gel in my eyes. I have pretty straight, fluffy hair and have to control it with some gel and sweating [whilst playing] only made everything worse. I rocked that style when it was trendy – and also experimented with colours in my hair – but it was a phase I went through until I needed a change. I felt like, if you look good in a shaved head, then you’re pretty good looking in general so why not?
Q: You were abroad for a long time; what did you miss most about the good old US of A?
A: I missed the seasons. Growing up in Wisconsin, having spent time in Chicago, summers were hot and we got snow in the winters where the English weather was kinda the same year-round. When the seasons change it help makes the year go quicker if you ask me.
As far as material things, though, I missed Chex Mix the most.
US MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM
Q: Since you said you’ve shaved your own head once or twice before, have you ever tried your hand at trimming any of your team-mates’ hair?
A: Yes, I was once the official team hair cutter for the USMNT. I’ve done Landon’s, Stu’s, Herc Gomez. I was the one who gave Herc his mohawk for the World Cup.
Q: Assuming you’ve never been formally trained to tamper with other people’s coifs, did everyone end up walking around with the same style?
A: For a lot of the guys I’d usually fade it on the sides and take scissors to the top of their heads, but I’ve also cut a lady’s hair once. Pam, who’s been the USMNT general manager for many years, is amazing and so good at her job but never has time to go to the hair salon. So this one time she trusted me enough to cut her hair despite me never cutting a woman’s hair before. Thankfully it turned out alright.
Q: We’ve been learning through several interviews with USMNT players that the squad is secretly full of bromances. Who is your best bud?
A: For me it was probably Stuart Holden. We were roommates for the last year and a half, even at the World Cup where you’re pretty sheltered from the outside world so me and Stu had some good heart to hearts in our room. We also used to make up different chants for the rest of the guys, but I can’t remember them anymore.
Q: We’re kinda shocked that your bromantic partner in crime let you go anywhere near his hair! We hear it’s something he’s quite fond of?
A: His hair has its own twitter page so I guess that speaks for itself [laughs], but yeah, Stu’s really into his appearance and takes pride in it.
Q: But that’s not such a bad thing, right? Most players are into their aesthetics…Cristiano Ronaldo for instance.
A: Yeah, except Cristiano doesn’t smile as much as Stu does.
Q: Who gives the best celebratory hugs on the team? Tim Howard previously said Oguchi, while Benny F. voted for Landon Donovan.
A: Oooh celebratory hugs? Hmmm…I’d say Brad Guzan. He’s just like a big polar bear and polar bears are nice and huggable and he’s a big and cuddly with these big bear paw hands. Brad’s a lovely, cuddly guy whose nickname is ‘the polar bear.’
Q: What’s the most memorable game you’ve played in?
A: For me it was the Confederations Cup game when we beat Spain. Mainly because it was my “coming out” party for the national team. At the time, I wasn’t really a starter but that game – and the entire tournament – gave me the opportunity to prove myself as a reliable defender. To beat the best team in the world 2-0 was such a proud moment for us all and it was a game where all 11 players worked so well collectively together while getting our individual jobs done too.
MLS & ‘SOCCER’ IN AMERICA
Q: Thoughts on Montreal Impact joining the league and their hotness quotient compared to your team [Vancouver Whitecaps FC]?
A: For us it’s great because it creates another rival. In Canada, the rivalries are usually based on hockey, so now all of a sudden you get those fans bringing the same great spirit to our game. It’s the rivalries that bring the heat and passion to the stands so the more rivalries we can create, the more the sport can continue to grow.
I haven’t had a good enough look at their roster in that way to answer the second question but I’ll try and keep an eye out the next time we play them.
Q: What’s your take, as a domestic and NT player, on the viability of the league (and subsequently the sport in America) for the future?
A: The acceptability of soccer is greater than ever, and that’s huge because it helps the sport, teams, players, fan bases and so forth grow. And as mainstream soccer gets bigger it continues to add another level of excitement to the game for everyone.In my short time playing for and in the US, I’ve definitely noticed very positive changes and the future seems even brighter.
Q: What’s your hope for the film – generate interest in the sport? Inspire people?
A: For me, it’s not just a soccer story, it’s a life story. People should know they don’t need to be a soccer fan to enjoy this film. That being said, I live my life as an open book so I just hope it shows viewers it’s okay to dream big and go after what you want in life.
Q: Lastly, give our readers one really good reason to watch ‘Rise & Shine’.
A: Well, I can’t confirm this, but I hear that in the ‘Extras’ section of the DVD version there may be footage of me and Stu Holden singing a Justin Bieber duet while in the showers.
A good reason to see it, indeed!
‘Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story’ is playing throughout the UK on January 17 and 29 (Odeon Theatres).
Big thanks to Nick L. and Chris O. for giving us Jay’s e-mail which we promise to safely keep on file forever, and to Jay himself for grinning and bearing it through all of our tough questions!