By Aldwyn McGill
Dwayne De Rosario has ended his storied soccer career.
The Scarborough native made his retirement as a professional player official at a press conference ahead of the Toronto FC match against San Jose Earthquakes at BMO Field last Saturday.
De Rosario began his professional career in 1997 with the Toronto Lynx of the A-League at age 18 before signing with FSV Zwickau of Germany. He returned to North America in 1999 where he signed with the Richmond Kickers before moving to the MLS with San Jose.
At 36, De Ro shared the last 14 of his 18 seasons with five clubs in the MLS where he won numerous individual and team awards. Most notable are his four MLS Cups (2001, 2003, 2006, 2007) with San Jose and Houston Dynamo, respectively.
During his championship years he won MLS MVP honours in 2011 with D.C. United, MLS Cup MVP honours in 2001 and 2007 and was named to the MLS Best XI six times (2005-07, 2009-11) to go with his team accomplishments.
De Rosario represented Canada at five CONCACAF Gold Cup tournaments (2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2011) and was named Canadian Player of the Year on four occasions (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2011). He was a member of Canada CONCACAF Gold medal team in 2000 and was named to Canada’s all-time (best) XI.
However, it must be said that while having won multiple individual and team awards with Toronto after arriving from Houston Dynamo on Dec.12, 2008, De Rosario’s playoff numbers did not improve from his tenure at TFC.
His 367 career appearances, 109 goals, and 82 assists from MLS regular season and playoff matches made him a winner but Toronto shipped him to the New York Red Bulls on April 1, 2011 which ended with another move to D.C. United in the same season.
At DC United, however, all De Rosario did was score 23 goals to go along with 21 assists in 68 MLS contests to be named the 2011 MLS MVP and MLS Golden Boot recipient on the strength of his 13-goals, 12-assists in a double-trade season.
Toronto picked up the rights for De Rosario for the 2014 season. His acquisition was overshadowed by TFC’s Bloody Big Deal signings. As a result De Ro bought into extended bench time for most of the 2014 season which led to my question of “unfinished business” to Dwayne at his retirement. Was it the playoffs or retiring at home?
“Unfinished business was to bring this city (Toronto) a championship and I meant that as a player but I still have those goals in mind and still that dream at heart,” he said.
“I am on the outside now and I am still going to be focused even more so now that I am on the back end and working with (GM) Tim and working with the organization … and seeing what recipe we can put together to make sure that (playoffs) happens in the city and right now I think we are on the right track and I am really looking forward to that.
“Yes I won’t be contributing as a player but I will be contributing even more so being an ambassador and helping out that team and I’ll be like every great fan out there anticipating that great day and celebrating just as I was as a player,” he concluded.
As De Rosario transitions into his role as a community ambassador for Toronto FC he ends his illustrious career as the club’s all-time leader in goals scored across all competitions with 33 in just three seasons.
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