Former professional soccer player Jay DeMerit was in Albuquerque on Monday and Tuesday to hold his Rise and Shine Soccer camp at the International Indoor Soccer Arena in Albuquerque.
The two-day camp is not your typical style of soccer camp, as DeMerit tries to coach the youth on more than just soccer.
“The Rise and Shine brand is meant to help them find themselves and help them find who they are and the best version of themselves through a multifaceted amount of activities. Over this past week we have had Olympians that have achieved the highest success, we have had medical professionals to come in and talk about the training and school for that, and we had a nutritionist to come in and talk about learning more about how to take care of yourself, and again be the best version of yourself,” said Jay DeMerit.
DeMerit’s life story is one of hard work and perseverance, and his life story was the reason this Rise and Shine Soccer Camp became to be. DeMerit’s story from growing up in Wisconsin, to playing five years on the US National Team and playing in a World Cup Game, and working his way through the ranks of professional soccer to play in the Premier League in England, was picked up and turned into a documentary. He hopes to spread his story and instill his work ethic into younger players.
DeMerit didn’t become a professional soccer player until he was 24 years old, so he lived a normal life outside of soccer and he wants to show kids that life isn’t all just about this game.
“Right now they are being told to be soccer players and soccer players and soccer players, but what happens if soccer gets taken away,” said DeMerit.
This camp in Albuquerque marks the first camp outside of DeMerit’s home in Canada, and a big reason for the Rise and Shine camp coming to the southwest was DeMerit’s former teammate and most of all friend, Pat Grange.
“The Patrick Grange connection really was the catalyst for this. I played one year of college soccer with Pat, and when Pat was done with school here in New Mexico he was trying to play professionally and he called me up and said, can i come stay at your house for a couple of weeks while i try out. He came for three weeks and stayed for three months,” said DeMerit.
DeMerit remained close with Grange through his battle with ALS, all the way until he unfortunately lost that battle in 2012. Jay has a lot of great memories of Grange and having this camp in his hometown was a something he had to do.