Marc Weber in Vancouver has an interesting story today; per his sources, USMNT defender Jay DeMerit is set to sign with the Vancouver Whitecaps as the the team's first Designated Player.
DeMerit's efforts to find a team after his contract expired have come to naught, and rumors linking him to Wolfsburg and Everton have proved to be nothing more than rumors.
I have no reason to doubt the Vancouver-based Weber, but this is an odd story if true. DeMerit is a very good defender, and has a reasonable profile with American fans. Perhaps that carries over to some Canadians in the Northwest, but it doesn't necessarily make DeMerit DP material. Even based solely on ability, an aging defender is strange choice for the club's first ever Designated Player.
I think MLS would be a fine place for DeMerit to end up; Ives Galarcep told me during the American Soccer Show today that he was surprised it hadn't happened yet. DeMerit had European aspirations that even a solid World Cup couldn't help him meet, and a return to the Championship is clearly not his preference. In that circumstance, coming "home" makes sense.
Vancouver could do worse for a big signing, because DeMerit brings a veteran defensive presence that will help the club navigate their expansion year (and I suspect he'll do a better job of it than Danny Califf in Philly). But there are just too many head-scratcher elements for me to buy it just yet.
Weber says the league has yet to approve the contract and the Whitecaps themselves have not commented. Again, I don't doubt the reporting, but of all the MLS teams for DeMerit to end up, Vancouver is perhaps the strangest fit.
*The headline was originally much stronger; looks like Weber's original story was backed down a bit (or at least the headline was) because the league and the Whitecaps are far apart on the contract they each want for DeMerit - I changed the headline for the post after Marc Weber commented that it was too strong via Twitter.