February 2nd, 2007 Canadian soccer players of the year (from Canadian Press)

Friday February 2nd, 2007

De Rosario, Sinclair named Canadian soccer players of the year

(CP) - Canada's Dwayne De Rosario has developed into one of Major League Soccer's top talents and most dynamic goalscorers during his time south of the border.

But the Houston Dynamo midfielder, who was named the Canadian Soccer Association's 2006 male player of the year Friday, admitted he could see himself some day scoring those dazzling goals for his hometown team Toronto FC.

"I definitely feel one day I will be wearing a Toronto FC uniform, and I would be proud to represent the city in which I was born and raised," De Rosario said on a conference call.

Christine Sinclair collected the CSA's top female player honours. The awards are decided in a vote by the media and online fans. Atiba Hutchinson was named the inaugural CanadaSoccer.com fan's choice winner.

De Rosario, a native of Toronto, led the Dynamo to the MLS title this past season and earned MVP honours at the MLS all-star game. The 28-year-old, a two-time winner of the MLS Goal of the Year award, scored the lone goal in the all-star game against English Premiership champion Chelsea, calling it the most memorable moment of his season.

"Playing against Chelsea was big for me because that an opportunity for me not only to represent myself but to represent Canada, represent the league which I play in - the MLS - and also showcase myself to the rest of the world," said De Rosario. "When you look at Chelsea, they're a world dominant team. . . Just to have the opportunity to play against players you respect and admire, and to score against them, that was a highlight in my career."

Sinclair, from Burnaby, B.C., scored 11 goals in 17 appearances for the Canadian women's team in 2006, including a pair of goals against Jamaica that helped Canada secure a spot in the 2007 women's World Cup. The 23-year-old was a finalist for FIFA world player of the year, and also led the Vancouver Whitecaps to a W-League championship.

De Rosario is entering his third year of a four-year contract with Houston. The team has reportedly offered him a new contract with a significant raise, which he has yet to agree to. The Canadian earned about US$140,000 with Houston in 2006.

Asked if a deal to bring him to Toronto could be worked out in the not-too-distant future, De Rosario said: "I think so. I don't want to take my respect away from Houston and the coaching staff and the fans here. I think at the end of the day, I just do whatever I can on the field and let my agents and people outside take care of the business side of it.

"But of course, it's no big secret that I'm from Toronto and it's fitting that Toronto would want one of the top players to represent Toronto's team in the league," he added. "I definitely in the future would like to represent Toronto and help make it a successful team, and win a championship."

De Rosario was just coming off an 11-day Canadian team training camp in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Toronto FC opened training camp Thursday at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan, just north of the city. They'll head to Florida later this month, then to a pre-season tournament in South Carolina.

De Rosario said the new MLS franchise should do wonders for Canadian soccer.

"I think it's a great opportunity that we have finally a professional team in Canada and Toronto is a great place to hold a professional franchise team," he said. "Now kids can look forward to something in the future, to play for Toronto FC one day."

Sinclair was Canada's team captain for the Peace Queen Cup and the CONCACAF Gold Cup, recording a hat trick against South Korea as well as her two-game performance against Jamaica.

Hutchinson, 23, received more votes than other Canadian player in the online balloting. The Brampton, Ont., native, who plays for FC Copenhagen in Denmark, became just the second Canadian player to score in a UEFA Champions League game. Thomasz Radzinski was the first.

De Rosario, Sinclair and Hutchinson join David Edgar and Jodi-Ann Robinson as the CSA's award winners for 2006. Edgar and Robinson were named the top youth players on Thursday.

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