US international defender Jay DeMerit has his sights set on joining MLS, according to a report, and the Vancouver Whitecaps remain favorites to land the former Watford captain.
"Since playing back in the US was always something I wanted to do, and have yet to do, it seems like the time is right," DeMerit told ESPN.com.
Last month reports surfaced that DeMerit had been negotiating with the Whitecaps, who are set to join MLS in 2011. The central defender has ties with Whitecaps director of soccer operations Tom Soehn, who was an assistant coach at the Chicago Fire when DeMerit played on their PDL team in 2001.
Should DeMerit opt to join the league, he would be assigned to a club based on its allocation order as he is a returning US international. The Whitecaps hold the first allocation pick for next season, meaning they would have first refusal of the Wisconsin native. They could also trade away his rights to another MLS team.
DeMerit, who made 182 appearances for Watford, indicated to ESPN.com that more than one MLS club has shown interest in signing him.
The 30-year-old is a free agent and has been seeking a new club since Watford declined to renew his contract at the end of last season. A starter in all four of the USA's World Cup games this past summer, he initially hoped a European club would sign him following the tournament, and there were reports that various British clubs, including Tim Howard's Everton, and Bundesliga side Wolfsburg had shown interest.
"Until I sign a contract with any club, of course I'm open to anything," he told ESPN.com. "But my main focus at the moment is coming back to the MLS. I know things can always change in a second in this sport."