Canadian international Dwayne De Rosario is happy to be back home, saying he has unfinished business with Toronto FC.
“This is my city,” the Toronto native said upon his arrival Wednesday night.
And the 35-year-old former league MVP says he is hoping to making 2014 a memorable year.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” De Rosario told The Canadian Press. “I like the vision that (MLSE president) Tim Leiweke has. It’s along the same lines and goals that I had when I came here the first time round.”
“For me when I left, it felt like there was some unfinished business that I still need to take care of,” he added.
Toronto FC scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon at BMO Field to herald his return.
De Rosario currently ranks sixth on the all-time MLS scoring list with 103 goals. Twenty-seven of those came in a Toronto jersey from 2009 to 2011.
He was traded to New York just two games into the 2011 season after a public contract dispute that included De Rosario celebrating a goal at home by pretending to sign a cheque.
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.
Had De Rosario not agreed to Toronto’s contract offer, TFC would have held the right of first refusal for the attacking midfielder in MLS.
De Rosario made US$654,300 in 2013 but will undoubtedly earn less in Toronto, which will be looking for the Canadian international to mentor younger players while offering support to a new-look marquee attack.
He will be joining a club that is making bold moves. England striker Jermain Defoe is set to be unveiled next Monday, according to a source, and multiple reports have the club making a move for U.S. international midfielder Michael Bradley.
Brazilian striker Gilberto signed on last month.
De Rosario said the influx of talent is good but it will be up to the senior players “to make sure everyone is on the same page.
“Because the sooner we gel, I think the better off it is for everybody.”
De Rosario wants to play a role on and off the pitch, stressing his passion remains playing.
“There’s stuff I want to accomplish individually and collectively as a team,” he said.
The main goal is success for the team.
De Rosario, a 13-year MLS veteran, has played 324 regular-season and 24 playoff games in MLS. He started his career with San Jose and Houston, winning four league titles.
A finalist for MVP in 2005 and 2006, he has been chosen to the league’s Best XI six times. De Rosario has also captured MLS Goal of the Year honours twice, in 2004 and 2005.
He hoisted the MLS Cup in 2001 and 2003 with San Jose and 2006 and 2007 with Houston, earning MLS Cup MVP honours in 2001 and 2007.
DeRo finished 2011 with D.C. United, winning the Golden Boot as the league’s top scorer and MVP honours.
De Rosario, who said he had other options in terms of clubs last month, hopes to reclaim his No. 14 jersey in Toronto.
“This is 2014, so it kind of goes together hand in hand,” he said with a laugh.