De Rosario clearly adds some class to the journey. He took time out during his moment at the microphone to note that Canadian national team coach Benito Floro was in attendance.
As with the national team, he will also help mentor a young roster. Twenty of the 26 players on TFC’s current roster are 25 or younger.
Toronto selected De Rosario in Stage 2 of the MLS re-entry draft last month after D.C. United opted not to pick up his option at the end of the season.
Nelsen called him a “legend” of Canadian soccer but said De Rosario would have to adapt his game to the demands of the team and his body.
“All the great players redefine their roles on the field, in their training schedules, everything on and off the field. When you get to a certain age,” said the 36-year-old Nelsen, speaking from experience
De Rosario, who turns 36 in May, isn’t taking any steps back, however.
“I’m a goal-scorer, I’m a winner ... I’m here to win, I’m not just here to be the local kid coming back.”
When a reporter suggested he was in the “latter stages” of his career, De Rosario politely disagreed and said the competitive juices are still flowing.
But the 13-year MLS veteran did say Toronto would be the last stop on his playing career.
All it took was “a simple phone call,” albeit not one De Rosario ever expected after his earlier disagreements with the franchise.
He admitted it helped that the previous regime had all left.
NOTES — Nelsen confirmed that English fullback Richard Eckersley will not be coming back due to his hefty contract. Striker Robert Earnshaw has yet to respond to a contract offer, but Nelsen believes that the Welsh international will move on in a bid to get playing time. The manager also said other clubs are interested in U.S. forward Bright Dike and, while he would like to keep him, he will have to listen to any good offers.