Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit announces retirement

WATCH: Jay Demerit officially announced his retirement Tuesday. Barry Deley has more.

Jay DeMerit, the only captain the Vancouver Whitecaps have known in Major League Soccer, has announced his retirement.

“Watching the guys play it just kind of dawned on me ‘I think these days are over,’” he said at a press conference. “I looked down and saw an ankle with one real tendon.

“I didn’t think I had it in me anymore.”

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DeMerit, who was signed by the Whitecaps in 2010, had previously spent six seasons with English club Watford.

He also played 25 games with the U.S. national team, including starting four games for the country in the 2010 World Cup.

His improbable ascent from from the ninth tier of English football to the Premier League and World Cup was the focus of Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story, an independent movie released in 2011.

DeMerit had battled injuries in recent years, tearing his Achilles in 2013. Last month, he suffered a torn tendon in his left ankle.

A stalwart defender, Demerit was named to the MLS All-Star team in 2012, and quickly became a fan favourite in Vancouver.

“They found the right guy,” said Global BC’s Squire Barnes. “He delivered on and off the field. When you’re a new team, you need that face to bridge the gap, and he was the guy to do it.”

As for DeMerit, he will stay in Vancouver and looking to his new life.

“I am excited for the future,” he said. “By no means is this the end.”