From pub league to Premiership – the incredible rise of Watford’s Jay DeMerit, English football’s very own Rocky Balboa

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16th, October 2006

Watford
I confess that until today I knew little about Watford defender Jay DeMerit (pictured). His name rang a bell in my head, but only from a mistake he made at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday to gift Thierry Henry a goal in Arsenal’s 3-0 win. Of course, to Watford fans he will always be a hero, after scoring the first goal in the Hornets’ 3-0 win against Leeds Utd in last season’s Championship play-off final.

DeMerit, an American, wasn’t considered good enough to be drafted by the MLS and has never played for a team in the States, at any level. Until recently, he was playing pub football in north London. Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd calls him the ‘Rocky Balboa of English football’, which may be an exaggeration but has a ring of truth to it. Sports Illustrated tells DeMerit’s full story, which I recommend you read, Watford fan or not: LINK

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