Dwayne De Rosario Interview on Africa

Stars in the Community  By Aldwyn McGill

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Dwayne De Rosario on Africa

2008-01-03: By Aldwyn Mc Gill (Caribbean Camera Newspaper)

 Dwayne De Rosario of Scarborough, Ontario is one of the most if not the most decorated soccer player in Canada.  Last September he was presented with his second consecutive Canadian Male Player of the Year award and in November he scored the winning goal in the MLS Championship final to help his Houston Dynamo team win their second consecutive MLS Championship Cup.

 De Rosario was voted MVP of the MLS Championship Cup and based on his team winning the MLS Cup, they will play in the CONCACAF Champions Cup against CSD Municipal of Guatemala in March.

To add to his recent playing accomplishments, De Rosario was asked to represent the MLS and a number of organizations on a mission to Mali, West Africa, to provide support and assistance to the people there.  As a resulted of his latest off field exploits, I felt the time was right to get an interview with De Rosario to have a feel for what cloud of humility he rode on his return flight to Houston from Africa.

 Part 1

Hi Dwayne

 Q: How are you doing and how are things in Houston?

 A: Things are going very well considering we just won our second MLS cup back-to back and looking forward to the challenges next year.

 Q: How was your trip to Africa?

 A: It was a great educational experience, going to the motherland. They were some real special moments and some eye opening ones, but the whole trip was special and I was grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of something so important. Check out my bogs on Houston Dynamo web site.

  Q: I understand you were chosen to represent the MLS and several other organizations on a mission to Mali, Africa. What was the purpose of the trip and do you think that you achieve your objective?

 A:  the purpose of the trip was to attend the Integrated child Health Campaign and observe and participate in the distribution of Long Lasting Insecticide treated bed nets for pregnant mothers and children under 5yrs, polio vaccinations, vitamin A for measles and albendazole for deforming. I felt like I achieved my goal seeing first hand this epidemic, Malaria. The effect it has on people’s life, their tradition and of course the number of deaths from this curable disease and trying to spread awareness to the Malian people and the people in North America.  Around 2.8 million bed nets were provided in one week, so that hopefully is saving a substantial amount of lives especially the children.

 Q: Were you surprise to be selected as one of the representative of the trip?

 A:  Diego Gutierrez from Chicago Fire was leading the campaign and had asked me if I was interested in helping to spread awareness and the purchasing of insecticide treated bed nets. He gave me the details and I didn’t even second guess, told him that I will feel honored and the rest is history.

 Q: Did the trip help you as a person and did it change your perspective on life?

 A:  I think a trip like this helps one to appreciate the small things in life and how not to take things for granted.  Just to know that I can help aid people in Africa was a beautiful feeling and the graphic images that we encountered will stay in my thoughts for ever.

 Q: It was reported that you were also representing the Canadian Soccer Association on the trip. I don’t understand the link. I though it was an MLS initiated program?

 A: Yes it was a MLS initiated program but I am still Canadian and represent my country wherever I go, that is the thing about being professional. I represent myself, my family, Canadians and MLS because that is who I am and how people identify with me. I think this is a great program for people to educate themselves on and try to participate in aiding poorer countries and I feel so much could and should be done towards building a stronger and brighter future for Africa. www.nothingbutnets.netwww.malariabites.net

Part II

 Q: Switching to the soccer scene, I got the impression that you are also dependent on, to keep things in tact on the Canadian team. Am I correct?

 A: Yes most definitely, especially as a senior, our job is to set the example for the younger players and fans, and to awaken the CSA and others towards our goals and dreams. We need the support of everyone to make this work.

 Q: In my interview with Julian De Guzman he said that you were the player that he looks up to as his big brother.  Did you know that he looked up to you in that way?

 A:  Yes, well Julian and I go back,” donkey years”. He was always a very talented player with ambition and growing up in Scarborough, going through certain situations with provincial teams, family and our environment was very similar and it took a lot for us to continue towards our dream without falling off the tracks. He is a player of great creativity and his maturity is really starting to show making him an even more complete and seasoned person and pro. I am very happy for him and his achievements and enjoy playing on the same National team, he is a true Character at times but when it’s all said and done he steps up and that’s all you can ask.

 Q: The last time you and I spoke you thought that you could get better with age.  Do you think there is still more to your game or were you implying that there may be areas of your game that you would like to work on?

 A: Who said I was getting older? Yes well my father is my biggest critic. My father keeps me honest and disciplined, always pointing out things that I can improve on. I try to stay as honest as possible always working on parts of my game and then putting it into practice. My brothers make sure that I am focused also, so I am blessed with a lot of family support.

 Q: Correct me if I am wrong but your pro career started with the Toronto Lynx of the A-League, then you went to FSV Zwickau of the German Second Division and then to the Richmond Kickers of the USL.  You are in Major League Soccer (MLS) seven seasons now. Is it safe to say that this is the league that you may end your career or are you still open to an offer to play in Europe?

 A: Yes that is true. In terms of ending my career in MLS, I can’t say. There is a lot of clubs and countries where I wouldn’t mind playing but as a family man it has to be the right situation.

 Q: How would you compare the level of play in the MLS to the leagues you played before?

 A: MLS is a great league and does not get the recognition on a global scale. But it is new compared to league’s that has been around for generations. I think now you are starting to see that change with big name signings, European exposure and the general public is starting to catch on. The level in terms of play I always thought was good; it’s physical and a skillful league.

 Q: What would you attribute your team (Houston Dynamo) success in winning back to back MLS Championship and how was it possible after you guys moved from San Jose (Earthquakes) to Houston in the off season?
Character!  That’s our main reason why we did well. The transition was ruff when we relocated but after we got settled it reflected in our play.

 Q: Your Houston Dynamo has now won back to back MLS Championship, your accomplishment as a player is endless, you’ve just traveled on behalf of the league, sponsors, team etc. Is there any thing that you would want to accomplish before your retire as a player?

 A: The World Cup!  Now let’s all try to make that happen.

 Q: Would you return to Canada if Toronto FC made you a good offer?

 A: The million dollar question! I love Toronto, born and raised in Scarborough, but again the offer has to be right. I know my family and friends would love to see me there but I have accomplished so much with coach Dominic from San Jose to Houston and still continuing our success, so for me to just pick up and leave it means that the offer must be right.

Q: What do you think of the atmosphere at the Toronto FC home games? Did you honestly think that the city of Toronto could have responded so favorably to a new franchise?

 A: The response from the fans didn’t surprise me at all. It was just nice to see the people who have passion and love the game show there support.  growing up and playing club soccer in Toronto was a blessing for me cause Toronto is a diverse city with a knowledgeable football” soccer”, community. It was a great feeling watching Toronto play there first home game and I just hope it’s continues to grow.

 Q: What do you think of Canada’s chances in the World Cup qualifying especially if you get by SVG in the second round into the group of death with Jamaica, Mexico and Honduras?

 A: Let’s not get beside ourselves, SVG is a country like us trying to qualify and we have to concentrate on them before anything else. The second round is something I am anticipating but the focus must be on SVG. This game I think would be a good test and opportunity to get together as a team.

 Q: As the MLS league champions your team Houston Dynamo has made it to the CONCACAF Champions Cup. Your first leg game is on March 11 or 12, and the second leg on the 18 or 20. Does that mean that you may not be available to play for Canada in a friendly during that time?

 A:  Well this is an important tournament for us as so is preparation for the qualifiers. For now I pray that I stay healthy and when the time comes make the right decision.
Season Greetings, Bless.