Dwayne De Rosario had a well-traveled MLS career, but believe it or not, his longest stop was with the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Canadian, who retired from playing in MLS after the 2014 season, is certainly keeping busy: raising his family in Toronto, serving as a Toronto FC club ambassador, running an academy, a foundation, launching a line of DeRo 14 Headphones with a portion of the proceeds earmarked for his foundation, and publishing a memoir — DeRo: My Life — that will be released this spring.
But looking back at his time with the Earthquakes, De Rosario remembers it warmly.
“I got quite a few good memories playing in San Jose,” De Rosario told Center Line Soccer in a recent interview. “Obviously notable ones: two MLS Cups. So that’s been good and you know I really enjoyed myself in San Jose. At the time I played there for me it was obviously going into the league and the first year winning [MLS Cup] and getting MVP of the finals it was an amazing first experience and I was grateful that I was able to continue to contribute to our success.
“It was a good time and I really, really appreciated what San Jose offered and how they treated my family,” he added.
De Rosario featured in 108 MLS games for the Quakes between 2001-05, scoring 27 goals and 20 assists while winning the MLS Cups in 2001 and 2003 and the 2005 Supporters’ Shield. It was the very beginning of his MLS career, and De Rosario quickly became a league star in San Jose.
“The life in San Jose was beautiful. My family enjoyed it, I enjoyed it, and it was a tough transition when we had to relocate to Houston,” he admitted.
While De Rosario and the moved Earthquakes won two more MLS Cups as the Houston Dynamo, he said from afar it was frustrating to see San Jose struggle to win inroads again locally and nationally after the club relaunched and went right back to playing at a college stadium, a purported reason why the club moved in the first place.
“It was tough to, I think it was 2008, that Earthquakes started back [in MLS]. And it was tough to see them go back to Santa Clara,” De Rosario said. “It was like, ‘You guys just make us pick up and leave out of Spartan Stadium to go to Houston, to now go back to Santa Clara, which is another college environment.’ It didn’t really make sense to me, but I’m glad that they finally found a group that’s invested into the sport and decided to actually build a soccer-specific stadium because there’s a great fan base there.”
Of course, it’s been 15 years since De Rosario played for the Earthquakes, but the attacker is pleased with the current direction of the club.
“Great fanbase, amazing to see a soccer-specific stadium,” he explained. “It’s great to see where they are at now. I’m glad they signed back [Chris] Wondolowski, I think that was more than deserving. I think when a player contributes so much to the game and so much to the league and so much to that organization I think they should keep him as long as possible and it’s nice to know that the organization trusts him and they have their relationship, I mean it’s fantastic. I think it’s only going in the right direction.”
Still, De Rosario admits that while he follows MLS regularly still, he hasn’t been to Earthquakes Stadium yet, and he says he’s waiting for the club to reach out to him about it.
“No, I haven’t [been to the stadium]. Which I’m a little bit disappointed I’m yet to be invited to their [stadium] in terms of what I contributed to organization. I still haven’t really gotten an official call to see. I mean I would like to think that we all played an important role. Those years to having football where it’s at [today],” he said.
De Rosario was one of four Earthquakes players to be named to MLS’s “The 25 Greatest” list of the best players in the league’s first 25 seasons, and the only Canadian honored. Given he’s one of the biggest homegrown success stories from the league’s first quarter-century, it was an expected selection, but De Rosario was pleased to be recognized.
“It’s a huge honor to be recognized, a part of,” he said. “With so many legends on that roster and just to know that I helped to contribute to the growth of this game in North America, and to be along players other players that I look up to and that I admire so obviously huge honor for a city Metro housing kid from Scarborough, Canada to be on that list, and hopefully it will help motivate, not only kids in my community for soccer in whole in Canada as well as in the Caribbean, where my roots are from and also my own kids as well.”
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