BURNABY, B.C. – Jay DeMerit has yet to hear from United States national team head coach Jürgen Klinsmann.
It’s been 10 months since Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley, and with DeMerit once again finding himself omitted from the German tactician’s squad for this summer’s friendlies and 2014 World Cup Qualifying matches, one has to wonder if the Vancouver Whitecaps defender will ever get the chance to represent his country again.
“A lot has been said about me now that I’m healthy, but all I can do is play for the Whitecaps and let the chips fall where they are,” DeMerit told Goal.com following a Whitecaps training session at Swangard Stadium on Thursday. “I watch the U.S. games and I know there’s a lot of talent to choose from. There’s a lot of guys that need to be groomed toward the next World Cup. The good thing about myself is that you know what you’re going to get. If [Klinsmann] needs a player like me then I’m ready.
“If not, then I’ll go and cheer the U.S. guys on and have more rest to be fresh for the Whitecaps, so as far I’m concerned it’s a win-win situation.”
The Green Bay native last played for the U.S. under Bradley against Paraguay on March 29, 2011, a match in which he notably picked up a groin injury which would then saddle him for the duration of his first MLS season.
DeMerit’s early omissions from Klinsmann’s squads were understandable given Vancouver’s poor form and that groin injury which never seemed to go away.
Now, though, the 32-year-old is healthy and back to his best, having led his club to five clean sheets in its first 12 league matches. Given his impressive form, he could be forgiven for feeling a bit aggrieved at his latest snub, but that’s not the route he’s taking.
DeMerit will be 34 when the 2014 World Cup next comes around, and acknowledges Klinsmann must do his due diligence in evaluating talent for the future.
“It’s a hard thing when you have three to four center-halfs [in a squad], and you have a good six or seven to choose from,” DeMerit said. “I understand how this all works because I’ve been in the position where I’ve had to be groomed when I was a 26, 27 year old, and I was getting called into camps and guys that are in my position weren’t.
“I understand both sides of the coin, but you’d always like to be in consideration, and if anything, know where the manager stands, but I haven’t heard anything and I’m not going to read into anything.”
DeMerit’s international career, if it has come to a conclusion, has fallen off as quickly as it rose. Over a four year spell beginning in 2007, he earned 25 caps, culminating with a prominent role in the 2010 World Cup squad, where he started all four of the U.S.’s matches in South Africa.
He was also part of the American squad which reached the finals of the 2009 Confederations Cup, and famously knocked Spain out in the semi-finals before falling to Brazil.
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Whether DeMerit gets the chance to represent the U.S. again isn’t entirely up to him, but as ever, he’s trying to look at the bright side even if Klinsmann continues to overlook him in favor of others.
“You look at the positives from both sides,” DeMerit said. “For me to get rest and for me to get breaks on international breaks is a great thing for the Whitecaps because I stay healthy for them. My injury problems started last year when I was with the national team and played two games in a row and did my groin for the first time.
“So if you look at things like that and possible health issues, then that’s a good thing. I look at that as a positive too. If I’m not being called in, then hopefully I’m getting rest to stay healthy.”