The recent actions of Toronto FC captain Dwayne De Rosario surrounding his contract status have definitely been quite the point of contention for many fans of the club over the past couple of weeks. North End Elite supporters group member w126er took it upon himself to do some digging online and see if DeRo’s behaviour over the past two seasons in Toronto were out of character for him or not. In his research he pointed to occasions in 2006, 2007 and 2008 while in Houston that saw De Rosario in each of those years complain about his pay packet and demand renegotiation of his valid contracts. And of course there have been the two very public statements he has made during his time in Toronto about the same thing.

His information is definitely worthy of a look. Based on public statements over the past four years, in each of those years De Rosario has expressed dissatisfaction with his contract status. At two times in those past four years De Ro’s contract was renegotiated on two occasions, once in 2007 in Houston and of course in 2009 upon signing with Toronto FC.

In both Houston and of course in Toronto De Rosario has without a doubt been a stalwart individual performer for his clubs. He has scored goals in quantity. He has performed, when in the playoffs with Houston and San Jose to a high level. He has been MLS Cup MVP, and he has been the face of the franchise in Toronto since his arrival in 2009.

Take a look at the points below and see for yourselves how De Ro has addressed salary/payroll issues over the past five years.

Exhibit A – 2006

After a successful 2006 campaign an under contract Dwayne De Rosario states that he was looking to “…take care of himself…” even though he was still under contract at the time. De Rosario was then lobbying Houston to sign him under the DP rule, which of course never took place.

Exhibit B – 2007

De Rosario had his contract renegotiated to run to 2010. He received a raise from $150,000 to approximately $325,000 per season. That was a raise of approximately 46.2% annually.

The league came back with an offer that I thought was appropriate, … It’s not where I want to be but it’s to where I can be comfortable and my family can be comfortable….I didn’t want to draw attention. I wanted to keep it quiet and (announce) it at an appropriate time when it would not be a distraction to the players or (to) myself.”

Exhibit C – 2008

De Rosario is traded to Toronto FC on December 12th 2008 for a player of significantly less value from Toronto in the form of Julian James. De Ro’s contract was torn up and he signed a new four year deal for $443,750 annually early in 2009. That works out to $1,775,000 over four years. This contract was just about the maximum a player not on a designated player deal could receive under MLS rules. And to reiterate DeRo freely signed a four year deal in 2009 that would not expire until the 2012 season.

Exhibit D – 2009

In September 2009, on the Grill Room program with Gareth Wheeler, with less than a full season of his signed four year deal under his belt, and in the midst of a playoff hunt, De Ro again chooses to publicly state his dissatisfaction with his contract status and pay packet in comparison to teammate Julian de Guzman. De Rosario says that Mo Johnston did verbally state to him that at some point his contract would be renegotiated based on his form and results. This episode is yet another distraction for a club that ended up of course missing the playoffs. Reports of significant player dissension and a “toxic” dressing room emerge at the end of the 2009 season.

Exhibit E 2010

In April 2010, with Jim Brennan retiring suddenly, De Rosario is appointed club captain. Later in a critical home game after scoring a goal to bring TFC back within one goal of San Jose Earthquakes, DeRo makes his famous gesture on the pitch of “cut me a cheque”, with the obvious reference of him feeling worthy of a renegotiated contract yet again. As he makes the maximum non designated player money, his reference is of course to him feeling worthy of a designated player contract. TFC goes on to lose the game 3-2 and all but officially end their chance of making a run towards the MLS playoffs for the first time. De Rosario of course apologizes publicly the next week for his outburst.


I must confess that after the cheque writing thing on the pitch last week on first blush I thought that De Ro was worthy of a renegotiated designated player contract for next season. However the more I think about it the more I am starting to feel that not only is he perhaps not worthy of that contract renegotiation I think that the club seriously needs to consider if he is worthy of keeping around.

Nowhere else in MLS would De Rosario make the coin he is making here. Houston, where he was a wonderful player had the chance to keep him, yet they felt his contract demands were too high and they let essentially their best player go for a young prospect named Julius James. If you re-sign him to a DP deal you are tying your horse to a player well on the south side of 30. You are also essentially condoning his behaviour if you reward him with the deal he wants.

Yes Julian de Guzman and Mista have been disappointments as designated players and yes they are making considerably more than De Ro does. But again no one forced Dwayne to sign a four year deal just last year did they?? And twice since then he has publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with his contract that he freely signed.

And even though he may have been given verbal assurances by the previous regime that his pay was going to be increased, the previous regime no longer exists and circumstances with the club have certainly changed. That sucks for him, but it is definitely the reality as it now exists. In no other market in MLS can De Ro make the additional monies from things like endorsements and commercials like he can here to the same scale. His soccer camp is a huge success here based largely on his name recognition within the community of Toronto.

No player is supposed to be bigger then the badge. I am starting to think that Dwayne De Rosario does not agree with me.

What do you think? Your comments are always welcome.


  1. I’m not expert in soccer economics but for me he is the best player on the team, by far, and should be compensated as such. He may be over 30 but he’s faster than anyone on the team, so much so that they can’t catch up to him to make any combination plays. His touch, passing, and vision are at a level much higher than his teammates, and Canadian men’s football in general, and his workrate is unimpeachable. To top it all off he’s been an excellent ambassador for the team and sport. He deserves to be the top paid footballer in Canada right now. Whether it’s rude for him to say that publicly I don’t know, but I think he’s absolutely right.

  2. DeRo is a very good player unfortunately it’s only about DeRo. DeRo could’ve finished his career in his hometown but after that bonehead move, I wouldn’t be surprised it TFC get rid of DeRo. Sorry DeRo, you have to understand that your agent negotiates your salary and that’s what you had agreed to by signing the contract.

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