Former Watford defender Jay DeMerit has been nominated for inclusion in the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

The American’s inclusion comes in his first year of eligibility and he is one of nine such nominees to be in the running to join the prestigious list of inductees.

DeMerit, 38, made a total of 215 appearances for Watford between 2004 and 2010 and scored the opening goal of the Hornets’ memorable 3-0 Championship play-off final win over Leeds United in 2006.

He made 32 top flight outings the following season as Watford played in the Premier League for the first time since 2000 and scored a winning goal against Blackburn.

Vancouver Whitecaps made DeMerit their first Major League Soccer (MLS) signing in 2010 and he went on to captain the side to the MLS Cup play-off final in 2012.

DeMerit is joined by some of football’s most famous names in being nominated to be included in the Hall of Fame, with Thierry Henry and David Beckham both on the list.

The Watford fan favourite played 25 times for his country and started all four of the USA’s games at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

His international career also saw DeMerit win the 2007 Gold Cup and reach the final of the Confederations Cup in 2009.

Voting for the Hall of Fame 2018 opened yesterday and runs until Monday, March 26.

The voting committee consists of a number of coaches from the highest level of U.S. Soccer as well as representatives from various other sectors in the game.

Each member will be given the chance to select up to 10 candidates and DeMerit will be guaranteed inclusion should he receive at least 66.7 per cent of the vote.