Dwayne De Rosario and Nery Castillo

Dwayne De Rosario calls it a career

It’s the end of an era. Dwayne De Rosario has announced his retirement.

The Scarborough native began his career with the Toronto Lynx in 1997. Almost 20 years later De Rosario is recognized as the most successful Canadian player in MLS history.

The man affectionately known as ‘De Ro’ won four MLS cups in his illustrious career and won 78 caps with the Canadian National Team.

De Rosario, 36, scored once in 10 appearances for Toronto FC last season.

The 2014 campaign was a difficult one for De Rosario, who found most of his playing time come off the bench in the second half of games. He still made an impact.

His late goal in Chicago salvaged a crucial point for TFC in a game decided by a controversial decision by the referee.

Though De Rosario leaves the club as the top ranked scorer of all-time and ranks third in appearances behind Stefan Frei and Ashtone Morgan, the 36-year-old made his biggest impact in Major League Soccer with the Houston Dynamo.

Writing for MLSSoccer.com, Daniel Squizzato penned a fitting ode to arguably the most important Canadian footballer we’ve ever seen.

“The general stereotype of Canadians is that we’re polite to a fault. Meek, even. When it comes to Canadian soccer on the world stage, those traits are usually amplified — we don’t want to rock the boat, after all. We’ll just take what you’re willing to give us, thanks very much, sorry for bothering you. DeRo broke the mold. DeRo knew how to take the game by the horns. DeRo was a champion.”

He became the first player to win MLS Cup MVP twice, helping the Dynamo win the Championship in 2007.

His accomplishments on the field, however, were dwarfed by his impact on the Toronto community.

The face of soccer in this country represented the multicultural dynamism this city embraced.

DeRo United and the De-Ro development after school program were created to provide youth soccer training, development programs and after school activities for kids in Toronto that wouldn’t normally be afforded the opportunity. He was an active participant in MLS Works, Right To Play and served as an ambassador to the United Nations.

As an athlete De Rosario served as the ultimate role model, and a person that kids could look up both as an athlete and a person.

With the transition to community ambassador for Toronto FC laid out before him, they’ll have that opportunity for years to come.

“I think I have a lot more to do now, a lot more to contribute to this game and I’m looking forward to the other side of the sport and continuing to develop the other side of the sport,” said De Rosario.

Dwayne De Rosario gave fans a glimpse into what was possible for Canadian soccer. A household name with a well-stocked trophy case, capable of the spectacular, inspiring the next generation. Retirement, like the rest of his resume, wasn’t something that just happened. He earned it.

Legacy extends well beyond the match sheet. Dwayne De Rosario left one on the pitch. Now he continues to build away from it.