Happy to have his long-term future settled, Dwayne De Rosario looks to get to work
Flanked by President Kevin Payne, General Manager Dave Kasper and Head Coach Ben Olsen, Dwayne De Rosario was all smiles at Tuesday's press conference to announce his new deal. For the league's reigning MVP, the signing brought to an end a difficult two year stretch during which De Rosario was twice traded. For a full write-up on yesterday's proceedings, check out Steve Goff's piece in The Washington Post and Craig Stouffer's article in The Washington Examiner, but below I'll pass along a few anecdotes from the press conference that might be of particular interest.
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
It was never a secret that the club wanted to extend Dwayne De Rosario's contract and reward the player for one of the most inspiring stretches of play the league has ever seen. But as United's season opener approached, there were some concerns externally that if a deal wasn't reached before March 10, in-season contract negotiations could create an uncomfortable situation in the locker room.
As we found out Tuesday, those fears were far from reality for the men involved in what appears to have been a very open, and amicable, negotiating process.
"It was very important for us as an organization that this be taken care of," Payne said Tuesday afternoon. "We've known it was going to be taken care of from the early days of our conversations, so we never had any concerns about timing."
Despite Payne's confidence, it's not like similar situations - where a player performs well and wants an extension - haven't turned sour elsewhere in the past. To that end, Dave Kasper spoke about De Rosario's attitude throughout the entire process.
"It's not easy," admitted Kasper, who also thanked DeRo's European-based agent David Baldwin for his hard work during the negotiations. "Dwayne was MVP of our league last year and there are a level of expectations that goes along with that, but it never affected him in the locker room or the field."
DERO LOVES D.C.
Sure, any player signing a long-term contract is going to talk about how much they love their new city, but when De Rosario speaks about D.C. there's a genuine - and educated - slant to what he's saying.
"This is a very knowledgeable soccer community," De Rosario said Tuesday. "We want to expand and grow that soccer community and we have players that can play a very attractive soccer. Who wouldn't want to come out and see this team play this year.
Obviously, my family is very comfortable here," added the 2011 Volkswagen MLS MVP. "We like the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area. Our kids are comfortable in terms of schools and stuff like that. It was big factor in terms of where my future lies."
DeRo is backing up his kind words with - amongst other things - a website, DeRoUnited.com. On it fans can find out about De Rosario's unique diet and his youth soccer tours which will be coming to our area sometime this summer
NO LONGER THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
As you may have heard before, Dwayne De Rosario almost joined the Black-and-Red over a decade ago. After a 15-goal campaign with the A-League's Richmond Kickers in 2000 - and an appearance with D.C. during a club trip to El Salvador - DeRo was front-and-center on United's radar entering the 2001 season. On Tuesday, Kevin Payne recalled just how close D.C. came to landing DeRo nearly eleven years ago.
"Our plan was to pick Dwayne in what was in those days called the Supplemental Draft," Payne said. "[D.C. United assistant coach] Frank Yallop left for San Jose just a few days before the draft and San Jose picked one spot ahead of us in that draft, so Frank picked Dwayne. Otherwise, we probably would have a couple more stars on our chest and Dwayne would already be a part of the lore of D.C. United. Now his job is to help us get those stars back."