Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Rise and Shine: The Jay Demerit Story"

After viewing a film like “Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story” it’s hard not to be emotional. The tale is one of intrigue and inspiration that will serve as motivation for young athletes all over the country. Make no mistake this is a real movie; with production value and a true story. It’s clear that those involved all believed in the message and the love they had for Jay is clear as well. A story of rags to riches in the literal sense, I’m left with a smile on my face and a lump in my throat.

The story begins with a young Jay Demerit being touted as a stellar athlete growing up in Green Bay. Born to a family of athletes and encouraged to play all sports, Jay was a star in basketball, soccer and even ventured into football. From there the film takes us through a fascinated look at how Jay’s talents touched those around him. Friends and family all given testaments to his efforts. Coaches discuss his prowess on the fields and on the court. Demerit’s ability to read the game, whichever it may be, are evident at an early age and those around him believe he is destined for great things.

It is after the film moves to his post-college years that we see a proud athlete with aspirations of playing professional soccer. Most notable is in the early going is that Demerit initially pursued a career in Major League Soccer with the Chicago Fire. When that did not work out, the story follows Jay and his good friend across the pond to Europe where they travel about with barely enough money to eat.

Coaches, friends and of course Jay recollect the story in interviews while the film describes Jay biking to tryouts and dining on beans and toast. Demerit’s efforts to stay fed and continue to play soccer see him playing in pub leagues and withering in the bottom tiers of English soccer.

The documentary takes us from these moments to his triumphant arrival in the premier league. There are moments where I nearly stood and cheered and times where I almost hung my head in frustration for Jay Demerit’s struggles. If not for his perseverance and the friendship displayed by those around him to see him succeed, it’s likely that Demerit would have ended up back in Green Bay working a job like any other American. Instead though, we see the story conclude with the tale of the US Men’s National Team winning their group at the World Cup.

“Rise and Shine” is a story that is both true and worthwhile. One of the best tales in sports… It is one to be shared with all fans of any sport, not just soccer. Those involved clearly dedicated themselves to this project and Jay’s determination to achieve his dream of becoming a professional soccer player give this film something few others have: purity.

To find out more information on this amazing tale, visit