March 30, 2007 Dwayne De Rosario comments on Toronto (from Toronto Star)

De Rosario hopes to end MLS career on his home turf

Scarborough native would ditch Houston for a shot with Toronto

Mar 30, 2007 04:30 AM

DANIEL ISLAND, S.C.–Houston Dynamo midfielder Dwayne De Rosario shuffles into a hotel lobby and flops down in a leather chair.

After spending last Sunday helping Canada's national team defeat Bermuda 3-0, De Rosario jetted to Charleston, S.C., and jumped into twice-daily practice sessions during his team's final pre-season tournament, the Carolina Challenge Cup.

And he's exhausted.

After Wednesday night's 1-1 tie against the Charleston Battery, De Rosario's schedule yesterday included nothing more strenuous than a 30-minute interview.

Six weeks from now, life figures to be a little more hectic for the Canadian Soccer Association's player of the year.

On May 16, Houston visits Toronto FC, marking the Scarborough native's first pro game in Toronto in more than a decade, and possibly providing a preview of how De Rosario would like to end his career. At home.

"Most definitely (I'd like to play for Toronto someday)," said De Rosario, who began his pro career with the Toronto Lynx in 1997. "It would be a great opportunity to feel like I'm giving back to my community, and I think the MLS is realizing there's a huge market in Toronto."

Nearly 500 relatives, friends and acquaintances have already told him they plan to attend May 16.

"And they all want jerseys," says De Rosario, a finalist for MLS' goal of the year and MVP trophies last season.

After the game, he plans to throw a charity fundraiser party at a downtown nightclub.

De Rosario says playing in Toronto would give him and other players an unprecedented platform to improve the quality of soccer in the city.

"When I was growing up we didn't have a pro team to look forward to," said De Rosario, who has scored 38 goals in 138 career MLS games. "Hopefully we can keep a lot of the local talent local and they won't feel they have to go overseas like a lot of us had to."

De Rosario spent two years with a German second-division team, often enduring racial taunts from fans, before returning to the A-League in 1999.

With two years left on his contract, De Rosario doesn't expect to play for Toronto soon. He said winter rumours Toronto would trade for him were just that – rumours – but says there is precedent for players leaving MLS squads to play for their hometown teams.

Landon Donovan, an old teammate of De Rosario's, played the 2005 season in Germany's Bundesliga while San Jose held his MLS rights. Donovan only returned to the MLS when he could sign with his hometown L.A. Galaxy.

De Rosario, who lives in Houston in the off-season, has talked before about playing for Toronto but says Houston fans and management don't resent him for it.

"I don't think they take it personally because they know Toronto is my hometown," he said. "All the (San Jose) fans weren't happy (with Donovan) but you have to respect what he did for the club. It was a good opportunity for him to go home and he capitalized on it."

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