After 11 professional seasons, DeMerit announced his retirement Thursday, ending a career that saw him climb from the ninth division of English soccer to the Premier League and represent the United States at the 2010 World Cup.
DeMerit, 34, had been in his fourth season with the Vancouver Whitecaps. After starting 11 games this season, the club captain had been sidelined since early June with a ruptured tendon in his ankle. DeMerit was limited to eight appearances last year after rupturing his Achilles tendon in the season opener.
"Even if I was to get back to a level where I could potentially play again, I would be putting at risk the reputation that I have spent so many years trying to create, and I won't do that," DeMerit wrote in an open letter on the Whitecaps' website. "I've never taken the field just because I can. I'm either all in or all out."
DeMerit, whose career was the subject of a 2011 documentary titled "Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story," in 2006 scored the winning goal in a promotion playoff that sent Watford to the English Premier League.
He made his international debut a year later and went on to accumulate 25 caps. After playing every minute for the USA at the World Cup in South Africa, DeMerit signed with the Whitecaps in November 2010 to become the franchise's first player. In 2012, he started for the MLS All-Star squad that defeated Chelsea.
"I look forward to my new role as an ambassador for Vancouver Whitecaps FC and for the sport of soccer in general," DeMerit wrote. "The quest has always been to challenge myself, and people in general, to chase their dreams and achieve the impossible. Together with the club and some new adventures of my own, I am excited to continue to spread that message."