"Grandpa" De Rosario honored by seventh All-Star nod
WASHINGTON — As the rain clouds from an early-daybreak shower lifted on Monday, giving way to the first sub-90-degree morning in the nation's capital more than a week, D.C. United’s players executed a footwork drill on wet grass.
And no surprise, Dwayne De Rosario wasn’t about to slip up.
In fact, D.C.’s star playmaker hasn’t slipped up much at all over the past 12 years, evidenced by the seventh MLS All-Star selection of his career, announced on Sunday.
“It gives me an opportunity to play with some of the players I admire in this league, so I still feel very honored when I’m selected,” De Rosario said.
The league’s reigning MVP, De Rosario was selected to the game via fan voting as part of the First XI. The remainder of the All-Star roster for the game against Chelsea on July 25 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa., will be announced on July 15.
“I don’t think anybody was surprised,” D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen said. “People want to see him play. He’s a fun player to watch. A very exciting player.”
The 34-year-old midfielder, who leads the league with 10 assists, has relished his role as captain this season for a side that’s tied atop the Eastern Conference standings with Sporting Kansas City.
“To be considered one of the oldest guys on the team is not the best,” De Rosario said with a smile. “You see these guys calling me 'Grandpa' and stuff like that. But we have a lot of mutual respect for each other. I try to share a lot of advice and experience with them. Things they can do better individually and things we can do better as a group.”
Because of a strong wind storm that rolled through the District little more than a week ago, De Rosario was without power for seven days. But he’s had no trouble sparking United this season.
Counted on as D.C.’s main goalscoring threat upon his arrival midway through 2011, De Rosario has transitioned seamlessly into the role of facilitator this year.
“He obviously adapts,” striker Chris Pontius said. “He has done it with a number of different teams, too. To be consistently that good, it shows a lot.”
De Rosario — who plans to attend the ESPYs as a candidate for MLS Player of the Year on Wednesday night — is now just three shy of matching his career high for assists, which he set in 2005.
“It’s a product of where he has been playing on the field,” Olsen said. “As of late, he has been around the goal and he seems to step up and do the job with whatever position we put him in.”