DeRo rips TFC on way out

Toronto FC midfielder Dwayne De Rosario reacts on the field against the New York Red Bulls in...

Toronto FC midfielder Dwayne De Rosario reacts on the field against the New York Red Bulls in Harrison, New Jersey on August 11, 2010. (MIKE STOBE/Getty Images)

GARETH WHEELER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:04 AM ET

TORONTO - “I never demanded a trade; I demanded a new contract.”

The words of Dwayne De Rosario Friday after being traded to the New York Red Bulls for defender Danleigh Borman, midfielder Tony Tchani and a first round pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. And De Rosario didn’t stop there.

“The fans deserve better and they deserve to know what’s going on. It’s all smoke and mirrors,” said De Rosario. “They say one thing and do another. You don’t treat people like that. It’s not right.”

De Rosario is among the best to ever play in Major League Soccer. He’s a hometown soccer hero and success story the community should be proud of. But his departure from Toronto FC was anything but the fairy tale ending to his career he envisioned. The 32-year-old leaves Toronto feeling misled and mistreated by the organization and certain individuals he calls “unprofessional”.

De Rosario’s tone’s not bitter; it’s the sound of being brutally disappointed how a “dream situation” could turn out so poorly.

“There has been upwards of 100 players to come through the doors at TFC, and not all of them have been bad players. Six coaches in five years too. What kind of organization works like that? They should look at how they are doing business.”

The Scarborough native paints an ugly picture of the environment he leaves at the club, where all players, no matter the age or pedigree are treated as though they are lucky to be around, rather than valued commodities.

It’s hard to take his frustration as sour grapes. De Rosario made his love for the supporters and the city quite clear. His frustration, like many players before him, lay with the club. Player discontentment is an on-going theme. De Rosario and Adrian Cann were the recent poster boys, but behind the scene, Nana Attakora’s frustration continues to bubble.

Toronto FC is in build mode. Trading De Rosario is a massive loss for a team lacking quality. New York gets a proven winner. And the Red Bulls are open to doing what Toronto FC was not; renegotiating De Rosario’s contract.

It is expected De Rosario will become New York’s third Designated Player. Toronto FC long insisted they couldn’t grandfather in a DP contract for De Rosario without league approval. De Rosario changed management teams last fall, and multiple sources say his new agent soon discovered MLS was open to granting De Rosario DP status. With permission from MLS head office, Toronto balked. Then, the contract became a public issue.

Sources say De Rosario and his representatives met with Toronto FC officials during the pre-season. The contractual amendments offered were deemed unsatisfactory.

According to De Rosario, next year was to remain an option year on his contract, but if he played 75% of the games next season, his 2013 contract year would have been guaranteed. Contractual assurances would also have come into play to amalgamate him into the front office/coaching staff.

If De Rosario suffered an injury, the deal would have been off. And the player had no intention to accept any deal that would push him into the front office prematurely, like Jim Brennan and Danny Dichio before him.

“We asked them for a new contract and they said they would try to trade me. How does that make sense?”

De Rosario’s public image was damaged by his infamous “sign the check” goal celebration last fall. The court of public opinion further turned on De Rosario in December when Toronto FC failed to publicly acknowledge they had given the player permission to go on trial with Celtic in Scotland.

“Earl Cochrane signed for me to go on trial with Celtic. Then they say they didn’t. I go on trial in Scotland, go through the process, and then they call me back, even though they had no intention of re-working my contract. I’m not a kid anymore. They could have let me stay over or sold me.”

The De Rosario-Toronto FC relationship started with a thud. The marriage began on a faulty premise in 2008, with the promise of a Designated Player title reneged at the last minute.

“Houston wanted me to stay and asked me what they could do to keep me. I told them I wanted to play in Toronto in front of the amazing supporters. I showed up to sign my contract and the terms changed. I had no choice but to take it. So I put on a brave face, smiled, played, and did all they asked me.”

De Rosario’s commitment never wavered. His 27 goals in just over two seasons in Red speak to his importance. He leaves the club as Toronto FC’s all-time leading goal scorer. Yet Toronto FC refused to treat their star player like a star player.

“They wouldn’t do even little things to help players out, like finding a flat. One player is commuting from Niagara Falls. Others are taking the bus to practice. I ask for tickets to games for my family. They won’t help me out. I scrounge them up myself. And I’m talking eight tickets, not twenty.”

Toronto FC start the post-De Rosario era Saturday hosting Chivas USA at BMO Field. Kickoff is at 1pm.


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