Commentary

Dwayne De Rosario, former MLS golazo king and four-time champ, on playing pro indoor soccer at age 40

Dwayne De Rosario  had a glittering MLS career. The Canadian spent some time in Germany before returning to North America with the Richmond Kickers, where he played well enough attract MLS attention. He capped a strong debut season with the golden goal for San Jose in MLS Cup 2001. He won three more MLS Cups with San Jose/Houston and scored the MLS Goal of the Year two straight years.

His 2011 season was one of the most interesting in league history. He was traded from his hometown Toronto FC to New York, then traded again to D.C. United. Despite the double relocation, he won the Golden Boot and MVP honors.

De Rosario retired in 2015, but he has returned this fall to play indoor soccer with the Mississauga MetroStars. The team debuted Dec. 1 with a tough assignment, facing the three-time defending Major Arena Soccer League champion Baltimore Blast in front of a raucous crowd, including a young woman who accepted Blast player Jonatas Melo's marriage proposal after he scored early in the third quarter, in the Blast's intimate arena. The MetroStars lost 11-3, but the 40-year-old De Rosario showed his class with two terrific goals and a save off the line.

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SOCCER AMERICA: First MASL game -- how's the adjustment? What did you notice tonight that maybe you weren't expecting?

DWAYNE DE ROSARIO: Well, there are some rules that we weren't too clear on. Early, in the game, we got exposed. It was mostly little technicalities that we're still learning. We still have a young team. It's not easy playing against three-time champions in their home environment for your first game.

But we got a good taste of what this league is about, we got a good taste of playing the best in the league. They showed why they're the best in the league -- they've got a good system, good philosophy, they work as a team, they make good runs off each other, they play and move, and we got caught a little ball-watching and we got exposed quite a few times. There's a lot to work on and a lot to build on.

SA: You've got a team that has some guys who've played futsal but not that many who've played in the MASL before.

DE ROSARIO: No, we have one.

SA: It seems like you actually have more indoor experience than most of them.

DE ROSARIO: No, it's just that I'm competitive, man. I hate losing. That's why it probably looks like that. Watching videotape and learning is very important. We have a lot of young guys that haven't played at this level of professionalism. This is a pro environment. We have a lot of guys coming from semipro leagues, and they've got an understanding of what this league is about. We're going to keep positive, we're going to build, we're going to improve, and we're going to come back.

SA: Some MASL players have played for the U.S. futsal team in the last Concacaf tournament. Would that be an ambition of yours, to play for the Canadian futsal team or something like that?

DE ROSARIO: As of right now, my focus is MASL and my focus is the Mississauga MetroStars. If that opportunity comes ... I mean, I'm 40 (laughs). I don't want to put my body through too much. Thankfully, I'm in a position where I can manage myself, play some games, maybe rest some. That's what I'm looking to do right now.


One of the most spectacular players in MLS history, the Canadian scored 109 MLS regular-season and postseason goals in 2001-2014 while winning four MLS titles.

SA: When you were in Richmond, did you have teammates who did the indoor-outdoor double?

DE ROSARIO: I want to say yeah. I didn't. But when I'd go to Canada, I'd play and train indoor and play with my buddies. But it wasn't competitive like this.

I enjoy it. It's a great game. I'm happy I've decided to play. It's filling that void. I miss playing, so for me to come back and play, it's a great thing to have going on. I'm surprised it hasn't really caught on. I'm here to help the sport grow.

Obviously with the World Cup coming, this is another environment where if you look at the top countries in the world of football, they all have environments like futsal, like arena game, like beach soccer, and they take it very seriously. So it's nice to know Canada's now involved in that arena and creating job opportunities for young kids aspiring to play football, those who don't make it at (Toronto FC). It's just another environment to play in and make a living and do what you love to do.

SA: You're running an academy. Are you doing all sorts of football there as well -- outdoor, futsal?

DE ROSARIO: Well, as you know, Canada's cold, so you can't play outdoors (in December). Our team's training indoors right now. I'm looking forward to next week's home opener. I'll have a lot of kids from my academy coming out and kids from my foundation coming out.

SA: Do you remember the days when the indoor league in North America had 10,000, 15,000 people at a game.

DE ROSARIO: Yeah -- those times, with the Edmonton Drillers, if I remember correctly. I love football. All areas of football. Hopefully it can get back to those glory days.

This environment tonight was amazing. It's nice to see, and hopefully we can fill up stadiums in every city.

SA: Is it distracting to have music playing during the games and stuff like that?

DE ROSARIO: It is, but I like it. I like the music playing because I love music. Sometimes I'm so in the zone, but it's so engaging for the fans. Literally engaging -- someone got proposed and got engaged. It's a good environment. I enjoy it. I can't wait to get back next week and hopefully we can come out with a win next week.

SA: So you're having fun?

DE ROSARIO: I'm having lots of fun. Doing what I love to do.

(Beau Dure is the author of “Single-Digit Soccer: Keeping Sanity in the Earliest Ages of the Beautiful Game” and the host of the podcast “Ranting Soccer Dad.” He coaches and refs youth soccer in Northern Virginia.)

1 comment about "Dwayne De Rosario, former MLS golazo king and four-time champ, on playing pro indoor soccer at age 40".
  1. Bob Ashpole, December 6, 2018 at 6:48 a.m.

    Great interview. I am pleased that DeRosario is still having fun.

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