TFC captain aiming for playoff appearance

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:43 PM ET

As the new captain of Toronto FC, Dwyane De Rosario plans to “lead by example.”

He will get his first chance Saturday in Foxborough, Mass., against the New England Revolution.

De Rosario’s mission is simple: Get this team into the playoffs for the first time, something his predecessor, Jim Brennan, could not.

Even though TFC doesn’t boast a roster with many players who scream out captain material, De Rosario was a fine choice to be given the armband.

The Scarborough native is a proven winner who gives his all every time he takes to the pitch.

He has scored the winning goal twice to win championships and is a two-time MLS Cup MVP.

The three time Canadian player of the year — one of the most lethal scorers this country has produced — has filled a leadership role in the past with the Houston Dynamo.

It won’t be a seamless transition from player to captain here, though. De Rosario will have to take command of players who, for the most part, are not able to match his talent level.

He also will have to work on his tactfulness, though, in fairness, Brennan was also a straight shooter seldom inclined to bite his tongue.

De Rosario speaks his mind, even if it doesn’t always endear him to management (his criticism of the BMO Field artificial turf was one of the key reasons why grass became a reality this season).

It will be interesting to see if he changes in that regard.

Brennan shuffled off to his new role as assistant director of soccer Tuesday, TFC coach Preki pitched the captaincy idea to De Rosario at training that day and De Rosario, calling it a “huge honour,” accepted the captaincy Wednesday morning.

“I’m very humbled by it, it’s a lot on my shoulders, (but) the kind of pressure I’m looking for,” De Rosario said on TFC’s website.

The club, oddly, did not bother to conduct a press conference or teleconference to announce De Rosario’s promotion.

“Being captain is not just wearing the armband,” he said, admitting that he didn’t have to think too long about taking Preki up on the offer.

“(The captaincy was) definitely a role I wanted when I came to this club.”

Confident

Preki said he was confident in his choice.

“I think he’s going to do a pretty good job leading the team facing forward,” Preki said.

“(He’s) been around the league for some time and been on winning teams. He knows what it takes to win.”

The coach also said he will help De Rosario adapt to the new role.

“We just want to make sure that all the things that come with wearing the armband are done the right way. That’s going to stay between him and myself.”

De Rosario will have to learn fast as the pressure on his shoulders has just increased ten-fold.

MLSEL bigwig Tom Anselmi already has put the club — which will host the MLS Cup in November — on notice that it must become competitive in this, its fourth season.

De Rosario won’t be able to do it all himself. But what he will do as captain, is help make sure his teammates are ready to work hard every game.

Your captain should be one of your most determined competitors. There is no doubt De Rosario is that.

Now he must make that drive rub off. Like a good captain does.


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