TORONTO – A homecoming for one of MLS’s greatest players, a chance to take care of unfinished business and a chance to play ambassador in his hometown meant Thursday was truly a big day for Dwayne De Rosario.
The Reds unveiled the well-traveled veteran at a press conference at BMO Field as the next in a line of key offseason additions, and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko immediately highlighted De Rosario as an incoming player whose acquisition transcends his projected contributions on the pitch.
“When we set out this offseason to rebuild this club into a winner, of course there were positional needs,” Bezbatchenko told a veritable throng of media. “But just as important was the heart and soul of this club, and the defining player for me for that is Dwayne De Rosario. It is a proud day for me and the entire organization to welcome Dwayne back home.”
While the press conference certainly had the distinct feel of a prodigal son returning to both the city and club, De Rosario seemed most interested in talking about two related things: winning and changing the tone since his departure from the team in 2011.
“To be honest, it’s kind of surreal to be back here in this position and to be back home with my friends and my family and my fans,” De Rosario said. “When I left here, obviously a big part of me stayed here and I had some unfinished business. I’m glad to be able to face that unfinished business now that the opportunity has presented itself and I like the direction, the focus and the vision that TFC now has under both Tim and Ryan [Nelsen, head coach].”
“At the end of the day, it is always nice to pursue the dreams that I had as a kid to hopefully win a championship for my city and now I have the opportunity to do that and live that out this time around,” the 35-year-old Canadian international added. “I think with the moves that have been made and with me coming back, I think everyone senses a very positive energy here.”
Asked whether he would like to retire as a TFC player or if there had been any discussion of a post-playing career role with Toronto, De Rosario was quick to state that he is fully focused on the present.
“I didn’t come here to pack it in, I came here to help this city which has been starving for a championship in a sport that has been embraced by so many people here,” he said. “It is a dream come true to have [a top professional club] in our city. As a kid, we never had this. We have this now and I want to make it successful and fill up all the seats.”
- Get more Toronto FC news at TorontoFC.ca
With the signing of De Rosario following the recent acquisitions of Designated Player Gilberto and defender Justin Morrow, in addition to the reported arrivals of Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley, the former MLS MVP sounded very much like a player who feels like his aspirations in Toronto could be successfully realized.
“Right now, for me it is about winning," he said. "Coming back to my city and hoisting up that trophy in front of our fans here, that’s the focus. You can’t put a price on that. That is the feeling I want to see out this year or soon.”