TORONTO - Toronto FC captain and all-time leading scorer Dwayne De Rosario is not comfortable risking his future by playing this season without guarantees added to his contract.
“It’s too risky,” De Rosario said at the club’s media day on Wednesday of competing without said guarantees.
De Rosario is in an option year and said he has to think about his livelihood and providing for his family, meaning he can’t risk getting hurt with no financial promises looming down the line.
“If I get injured, I’m on the outside looking in,” he explained.
While the optics don’t look great — he is the captain, after all — given that he is one of the greatest performers in Major League Soccer’s history and TFC’s most dangerous player having netted 26 of its 70 goals over the past two seasons, De Rosario has a point and it is hard to see TFC letting this situation linger with camp opening in Turkey later this week.
De Rosario said he believes a deal will be completed, but also pointed out if getting the details ironed out was a huge priority for new technical director/head coach Aron Winter and general manager Paul Mariner, “it would have gotten done a long time ago.”
For his part, Mariner spoke highly of De Rosario and said they were “trying to work things out.”
For the first time, De Rosario came out and said he should be given a designated player contract. Fellow Torontonian Julian de Guzman is the only existing DP (pulling in $1.7 million US last season to De Rosario’s $443,750), after Spanish bust Mista was let go in the off-season.
“It’s not about what I want, it’s about what I deserve,” De Rosario said.
He also maintained he had no regrets about how his off-season trial with legendary Scottish side Celtic was handled. “I didn’t know there was confusion (on TFC’s part about him being in Scotland) until I saw some press release,” De Rosario said, before adding to reporters: “If the New York Times asked you to write for them, would you go?”
De Rosario clarified that he had no intentions of staying with Celtic, but said he saw a short-term loan with the club as a great opportunity.
Despite the distraction De Rosario’s saga has had on the rest of the club this winter, his teammates still stood firmly behind him.
“He’s a class act, he works his ass off in the training sessions as well as the games and you can see that in what he produces for the club,” said Adrian Cann.
“All the speculation and the rumours and the misunderstandings can lead to some type of drama but at the end of the day, Dwayne’s here, he’s our captain and we’ll continue to enjoy him being part of the team,” added de Guzman.
“I’ve experienced similar situations myself where things can get out of hand when they get into the media they can head in the wrong direction where fans will be disturbed, but it comes down to what we do on the pitch. If we win, then it’s easily forgotten.”
Less troublesome, but still affairs that need to be put in order, are the contract situations of Canadian defenders Nana Attakora and Cann, voted team MVP for 2010.
Attakora said he did not sign a new deal in the off-season because he wanted to let the front office and coaching situation settle first. Now that the new regime is in place, Attakora sounded hopeful a deal would be worked out, although it appears Winter and Mariner want to see what they can offer first, even though the duo was TFC’s best defensively last season.
Cann was more hesitant, saying he is trying to stay positive because talks have been “up in the air.”
Seems to be a recurring theme with this organization.
All of this must be settled soon, because the last thing TFC needs is for off-field drama to eclipse what happens on the pitch yet again.