"The Journey is the Reward" to the World Cup

As many of you know Brian loved soccer-playing it, watching it and being a part of the different teams he played on. Neil Buethe was one of those teammates that Brian became close too.

A couple weeks ago, Neil approached us, to our surprise, as the Senior Manager of Communications for the U.S. Soccer Federation.

He told us that he has never forgotten Brian and their friendship. He wrote : " his inspirational story has stayed with me for all these years. I actually still keep some of the material about the "Journey is the Reward" that was handed out during his funeral in my wallet as a symbolic way to keep Brian with me at all times."

He went on to say that Jay DeMerit, defender for the U.S. Soccer World Cup Team, had an amazing journey on how he got to where he is today. For Neil, it really speaks the phrase "The Journey is the Reward."

--Jay DeMerit at the World Cup. Photo by ISIphotos.com--

Jay began his soccer career at Bay Port High School in Green Bay, Wisconsin where he graduated from in 1998.

Jay didn't start playing soccer until his sophomore year in high school. He then played at the University of Illinois. After graduation, he decided to take advantage of his European Union work status (due to his Danish grandfather) and moved to England in 2003. He started off playing in the ninth tier of English football for Southall Town F.C.
In July 2004, DeMerit joined Northwood, a seventh-tier team, to play in some of their pre-season matches. He went on to sign a one year contract with Watford that season and has been a regular in the Watford lineup ever since. Jay played in all of the World Cup games for the United States.

Wow. Not starting soccer till he was 16 years old to a ninth-tier team to the World Cup... "The Journey is the Reward" is fitting.

Jay visited Green Bay and his alma mater, Bay Port High School on July 9th where he signed and talked with hundreds of fans. Jim Schmitt, the Mayor of Green Bay, presented Jay with a key to the city and delcared July 9th, 'Jay DeMerit Day'.

After a long day of signing hundreds of autographs, Jay was kind enough to meet with Brian's Dad, Doug LaViolette and signed a few soccer balls, just liked those used during the World Cup for the Brian's Foundation fundraiser efforts.
We can't tell you how much it meant to us that Neil reached out and for keeping Brian and his Foundation in his heart after all these years. We felt honored that Jay also showed his support and believes in the mission of Brian's Foundation.

We are so touched that Jay has joined in on Neil's journey, our Journey and Brian's journey.