By: Janice Dayle
"I like to think age 30 is the new 20" the vegetarian soccer great, Dwayne De Rosario said of the benefits healthy eating brings. While being the 'poster image' for thriving while staying away from junk food – De Rosario shines even brighter as Houston Dynamo's 'attacking mid-fielder' and in all his football endeavours.
Named Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the finals this season and in 2001, as well as co-MVP on two other occasions, De Rosario forged a steady progressive path to success. The Ontario, Canada born; US Major League Soccer (MLS) star made his way from being spotted by a 'talent scout' at age 12 to becoming one of the top goal scoring players in the 11year old American soccer league.
Recounting the almost fairytale-like sequence of events that saw 12 year old Dwayne and his Guyanese born parents flown to England on a training/grooming scholarship; De Rosario said, "It opened my eyes to the football world...and when I played the Canary Cup, it opened my eyes [forcing me] to say this is something I really want and I knew at such a young age I could help my family."
From there the budding top player had numerous trials in Europe and at age 15 joined a huge club, AC Milan, playing with some of his favourite, and the world's greatest players. Then came the tough decision of accepting an offer to be signed or return to Canada; and back to Toronto De Rosario decided to go, where he ended up signing his first professional contract with the Toronto Lynx. After just half a year with them, De Rosario was off to Germany.
In East Germany in 1997 De Rosario was frequently made to feel ostracized from the tensions of the times. "The walls had recently come down...basically I was one man against the world; at times the players were against me...sometimes the whole stadium would start making monkey noises and things like that...people did not take too well to me in terms of colour and tradition...it was interesting to be amongst that," he explained, saying the experience encouraged him and many African players to unite, become stronger and form a brotherhood.
Then the easy choice of North America over Europe became appealing and De Rosario made the switch. Having received many honours that include the record MLS Goal of the Year for 2 consecutive years, he was no doubt an immense help in leading his team to MLS Cup Championships.
With his surge of goal scoring and assists, De Rosario moved from the Richmond Kickers to the San Jose Earthquakes. He has now settled in Houston. "Now my focus is on Houston...we are on our second back to back win and hope to make it three times in a row," De Rosario told YardFlex, speaking from Florida where he is now in training camp.
Currently a member of the Canadian National Soccer Team, De Rosario has his eyes on South Africa and a World Cup Win in 2010. He said, "Our qualifier is this year and my goal is to help the team to make it to the next round on CONCACAF and then - make it...to fulfill my personal dreams and those of Canadian fans."
Now a 'mid six figure' earner, De Rosario says he hopes the still youthful American soccer league will become more structured in seeing more money come their way...this could give players the chance to be paid for their accomplishments. Top salaries today can be as large as David Beckham's reported US$139,000,000 and the low can see a rooky earning US$17,000 to US$30,000 he said.
For De Rosario there is one downside and that is missing his family. Being away from his wife, who is an American professional African dancer and 3 children aged 10, 6 and 3 can be difficult.
Nothing is as difficult to him though as the plight of many unable to access medical treatment and maintain proper health in the world. Recently returned from a United Nations sponsored Mali, Africa health campaign, De Rosario is dedicated to working more on easing that pain. For final words he wants YardFlex readers to just go to nothingbutnets.net and check out the grassroots campaign to save lives.