Canadian Dwayne De Rosario announces retirement after 18 MLS seasons

TORONTO — Canadian soccer star Dwayne De Rosario has officially called it a career.

The Toronto-area native announced on Saturday that he is retiring after 18 seasons of professional soccer — 14 of which were played in the MLS.

De Rosario leaves the game having won four MLS Cups (2001, 2003, 2006, 2007), 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).

“It’s never easy to hang up the boots from the game you’ve grown with and loved,” said the 36-year-old midfielder. “I am extremely grateful for everything this sport has provided for me, my family and my community.

“Every day I trained and competed and I always tried to show my appreciation through my hard work and dedication. It’s been a dream come true for me as I feel blessed to retire in my hometown with my home fans, family and friends that have supported me every step of my career.”

De Rosario spent time with Toronto FC, San Jose Earthquakes, Houston Dynamo, New York Red Bulls, and D.C. United. He made 367 appearances, scoring 109 goals with 82 assists combined in MLS regular season and playoff matches.

De Rosario re-joined Toronto FC in January of 2014. He spent just over three seasons with the club and ends his career as TFC’s all-time leader in goals scored across all competitions with 33.

He led Toronto FC in scoring in 2009 with 11 goals, and in 2010 set a franchise single-season high with 15 goals. De Roasario was named the second captain in team history in 2010 and later that season he helped lead the Reds to their first CONCACAF Champions League berth.

“Today we bid a formal farewell to Dwayne De Rosario as player. He goes down as an absolute legend and champion in both the MLS and Canadian soccer,” said Toronto FC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko.

“We are extremely grateful to Dwayne for his countless contributions both on-and-off the pitch representing Toronto FC — and the fact he was able to both start and finish his storied professional career in his hometown.”

De Rosario began his professional career in 1997 with the Toronto Lynx of the A-League at 18. Midway through his first season with the Lynx, De Rosario signed for FSV Zwickau of Germany, where he remained until returning to North America in 1999 to sign for the Richmond Kickers.

In 2001, De Rosario signed with San Jose and spent five seasons with the club. He remained with the club as it moved to Houston to become the Dynamo for the 2006 season and spent three seasons in Texas, winning back-to-back MLS Cup championships in 2006 and 2007.

De Rosario was then traded to Toronto FC in 2008. Following his first stint with TFC, he was traded to the New York Red Bulls in 2011. Later that season, he was again traded to D.C. United.

De Rosario also put together an impressive international career with the Canadian men’s national team.

He finished third all time with 81 caps and stands as the all-time leading goal scorer for his country with 22 goals. He was named Canadian player of the year on four occasions and in 2012 was named to Canada’s all-time XI.

De Rosario represented Canada at five CONCACAF Gold Cup tournaments and won the Gold medal in 2000. His final cap and goal for Canada came in a 1-1 draw during a friendly match against Iceland on January 19, 2015.

De Rosario will now move into his role as a community ambassador for Toronto FC. In addition to his new job, the club will host a special testimonial match at BMO Field on Saturday, June 20 ahead of the club’s match against New York City FC.

“I look forward to my new role with MLSE and will still maintain that appreciation I had as a player to help grow and develop this sport in Canada & throughout the MLS,” said De Rosario. 

The Canadian Press