Who is this Jay DeMerit guy?
You might've heard of Jay DeMerit if you are familiar with any one of the following things:
- the United States Men's National Team
- Watford FC
- people from Green Bay, Wisconsin
- boss defenders
- the Vancouver Whitecaps
- playoff beards
- awesome footballer Twitter accounts
- footballers who can paint
- cornea transplants (good call, faith47)
He's a defender who currently plays for/captains the Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS. He is a member of the USMNT.
And he's got kind of a great story, which two of his friends - Nick Lewis and Ranko Tutulugdzija - decided to make into a documentary. I'm copying and pasting from the film's website because it's a nice summary:
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.
Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story needs our help. The film is currently listed on Kickstarter, which is a funding platform for all sorts of projects that allows creators to set a monetary goal and opens the door for people to pledge towards that goal.
This film needs $215,000 to be completed and distributed on DVD.
That's a lot of money.
It sure is, and it could be a lot more. Did you know that to use just one minute of World Cup footage, it costs around $50,000? And that cost has even been cut out of the film due to its expense. But that doesn't mean other things come cheap - we're looking at about $20,000 for a minute of Premier League footage, $12,000 for a minute of Championship footage. There's a breakdown on the Kickstarter page that details what the $215,000 will be used for.
How are they going to get this money?
That's the thing - this film is not supported by any big studio or company. This film was made by a couple of guys with no formal film experience. They have decided to bring the film to us, the fans. By choosing to use Kickstarter, Nick and Ranko have given us the amazing opportunity to help fund this great project. If - when - we meet this goal, it will be one of the largest projects ever funded on Kickstarter, and it will be an incredible example of how we in the football community can come together and support the story of one of our own.
So, we need your help. Right now, there are six days left to reach $215,000. We're about 80% of the way there. If you haven't already, please consider contributing what you can. Every dollar counts. If you can only give one dollar, please do. If you can give more, by all means please do. If you can't give anything, please spread the word to everyone you can so this reaches as many people as possible. Together, I absolutely know we can raise the money for this film. So much has been done already - screenings around the US, articles on various websites, the two creators balancing this project with their actual day jobs. So many people have written to say how much they hope this gets funded, because the story is inspiring and the film deserves to be seen.
I have no personal connection to this project. I've never met Jay, or Nick and Ranko, and I didn't help make the film. I'm just someone who heard about this, was excited by it, and have done what I can to make it happen. Hopefully you guys will do what you can, too.
You don't have to be a US fan to like this film. You don't even have to be a football fan, although I know all of us here are. This film is for everyone. And the story is true. No Hollywood script, no actors. It is what it is. This is what happened to Jay - what he made happen for him - and it can inspire any of us.
I'm convinced. What do I do?
Visit the Kickstarter page. There, you can find all the information on how to pledge. It's fairly simple and the site is trustworthy. You will only be charged if the project gets fully funded. If not, then nothing happens, you keep your money. Like I said, every dollar helps. Right now there are 1317 backers on Kickstarter, and I know we can do better than that.
And please, spread the word! Tweet, post on Facebook, tell your friends and family. Use owls, ravens, carrier pigeons, telegrams, Morse code, smoke signals, write it in the sand of the mysterious island you've been stranded on. We've got six days and about $40,000 to go. This is a mission.
If you don't mind, it'd be awesome if more people could get involved in the Twitter endeavor. Basically just tweeting at celebs/footballers/anybody you think might want to support this. A lot of USMNT and MLS players have already pledged their support (Stuart Holden gave $10,000!) so maybe don't bombard them, but Rivers Cuomo of Weezer was contacted via Twitter and he gave $5,000. At the moment I'm kind of working on Drew Carey (@DrewFromTV) since he's a big football fan. It looks like another target is Elton John (@eltonjohndotcom) because he actually is super invested in Watford.
By the way, if you do choose to pledge money, the fun part is - you get a reward! Besides being able to see the film, that is. The minimum pledge to receive a DVD of the completed film is $25. If you go for $55 or more, you get the DVD plus a t-shirt designed by Jay DeMerit (if you clicked above, you'll see that he is actually quite artistically talented).
Can you give me, like, a master list of links? Because that would be super helpful thank you please thank you very much to you sir.
I would love to.
Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story official website
Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story on Kickstarter
Jay DeMerit Story on Facebook
Jay DeMerit Story on Twitter <-- I'm going to be honest/practical here and say that I don't suggest you follow them unless you like your feed consisting of mostly RTs. However, they DO respond to a lot of people, so if you want to say something to them, you have a decent chance of getting a response.
Jay DeMerit on Twitter
Sports Illustrated article about Jay by Grant Wahl (2006) & Sports Illustrated article about the film (2011)
"Jay DeMerit's Watford dream and a friend in need make compelling film" (The Guardian, UK)
review of the film from Vancouver Metro
interview with Ranko
about the making of the film
American Outlaws podcast with guests Jay and Nick
Thanks for reading if you did, and an especially big thank you to anyone who donates/has donated already. I'm challenging all of you to help make this happen! 6 days!