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Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story (2011)

A documentary on the rise of professional soccer player Jay DeMerit from being overlooked in the U.S. to struggling in England to World Cup player recognition.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Subject of film
Karen DeMerit ... Jay's Mother
Todd DeMerit ... Jay's Brother
Michael J. Jameson ... Jay's Track Coach & Family Friend
Kevin Phillips ... Jay's Basketball Coach
Aldo Santagá ... Jay's Soccer Coach
Mike Matkovich ... Chicago Fire Assistant Coach
Brett Hall ... Chicago PDL Coach
Keiron Keane ... Jay's Friend (as Kieren Keane)
Brothers Grant ... Jay's Childhood Friends
Dennis Bainborough ... Southall Town FC Coach
Henry Weatherly ... Former Arsenal FC & Fulham FC Scout
Jordan Keane ... Jay's Former Housemate
Courtney Keane ... Jay's Former Housemate
Ashley Keane ... Jay's Former Housemate


Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story is the true story of a young American's impossible journey. 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, $1800 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 world's greatest sports stage - the 2010 World Cup. The Jay DeMerit Story is a story of perseverance, hard work and a relentless belief in a dream...it is a story that needs to be told. Written by Anonymous

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The Fight For A Dream


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Release Date:

3 November 2011 (USA)  »

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This film raised over $223,000 on kickstarter.com, making it the most successful independent film via crowd funding. See more »


USMNT Coach: And one of the things that, uh, I've always, uh, enjoyed during the time that I've had a chance to work with Jay is, um, he's fearless. Whether he's playing against a big name forward or not, there's part of him that... that, as he walks out the locker room onto the field, he gives you, uh... a little wink, and he gives you the confidence that "I'm ready for it; I'm gonna give you everything I have." And that fearless mentality, uh... that... that really pays off because it spreads itself ...
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User Reviews

An awe inspiring documentary that feels like an action/adventure movie
5 November 2011 | by See all my reviews

Rise and Shine: The Jay Demerit Story is a chronicle of the impossible journey of Jay Demerit. The movie takes you from Jay's humble beginnings in Green Bay Wisconsin to the top ranks of English football, the world cup, and professional soccer. Most people would have given up in the face of the adversities Jay encountered. However, Mr. Demerit's perseverance, hard work, and relentless pursuit of his dreams drove him from a substitute position in the English pub league to the English Premiere League. Throughout the movie, it becomes apparent that Jay had a lot of people that believed in him and supported him. Among his greatest supporters are Ranko Tutulugdzija and Nick Lewis who wrote and directed the movie and financed the film with their life savings, donations from the website kickstarter.com, and by going into debt. Zach Salsman was the cinematographer. Ranko, Nick, and Zach all deserve kudos for pulling together such a well structured, approachable, and entertaining movie. Jay's drive, passion, and humble personality likely influenced everyone to support him. These hero qualities make Jay a natural leader. If kids want to emulate a professional athlete, it should be Jay Demerit.

This movie will be enjoyed by sporting enthusiast, families, and anyone that needs some inspiration in their lives. Many people in the United States are suffering from our recent economic decline, whether it is from lack of work, under pay, or stress from being over worked. Oddly, this movie is about the United States. We are facing rough times and issues that seem impossible to resolve. We were knocked down in 2008, but we need to get ourselves back up and realize our potential with support from our friends, families, and neighbors; just like Jay Demerit did with his life. This movie is exactly what we need to re-energize our spirits and face the adversities of day to day life. I recommend watching this movie a few times and bringing friends or family that are having a rough time or are facing challenges in their lives. I hope teenagers watch this movie and learns from Jay's personal qualities and tenacity.

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