For two Scarborough soccer players, it was the chance of a lifetime when they reunited to play professional soccer for their hometown.
Toronto FC made headlines when acquiring midfielder Dwayne De Rosario and defender Adrian Serioux. Both players were born and raised in east Scarborough, where they honed their soccer skills while attending local high schools. De Rosario went to Winston Churchill C.I. and Serioux attended Pope John Paul II. They both excelled in multiple sports, but soccer won both their hearts. They even played in the Malvern Soccer Club together before making it big.
“It’s funny the way things work themselves out,” De Rosario said on his website after Toronto acquired Serioux. “It wasn’t too long ago that Adrian and I played for the same club team, Malvern, and I had to babysit him as part of the Older Malvern team. Now we’re both with TFC in our hometown, but the babysitting business done.”
Before returning, De Rosario, 30, established himself as an elite MLS player. In eight seasons, he is a three-time all-star and scored 51 career goals. He’s won multiple MLS championships with San Jose (2001 and 2004) and Houston (2006 and 2007).
De Rosario will be given a star on the Scarborough Walk of Fame on May 28.
“It’s a great honour that the people from your hometown have taken the time to acknowledge the things I’ve done,” De Rosario said. “It’s very gratifying.”
Serioux, 29, is in his fourth year in the MLS after playing two years in Europe and starting his career with the Toronto Lynx in A-League.
Both players are veterans of the Canadian National Soccer team and still have family and friends living in Toronto.
“It feels like home,” Serioux says. “I’ve been travelling around for the couple few years on different teams, it finally feels like it’s time that I’m home near family and friends.”
They’re happy to be home, but with a 2-2-2 record, both players are primarily focused on improving the team.
“I’m here to do the business on the field first,” De Rosario told the National Post when acquired back in January. “Once the results start coming, then anything is good.”
“Your job first is your first priority,” Serioux said. “I try to make time when I can to see people but I came back here to do a job, and they understand that.”
Just as they are focused on making their hometown a winner on the soccer pitch, they have the same commitment when devoting themselves to their communities.
In 2008, De Rosario helped create DeRo Entertainment, a promotional group geared toward working closely with charities to spread awareness of local and global issues.
The group recently launched Working Together to Build a Better Tomorrow, a program that visits schools in the GTA to raise awareness for World Malaria Day on April 25. De Rosario travelled to Mali in December 2007 and witnessed the debilitating effects of malaria.
“We just went to a school in Ajax where we presented in front of 300 children, who raised more than $300 on that day alone for bed nets to help protect those affected by malaria.”
Serioux says that one of his main goals is to work with the Malvern Soccer Club, where he first began playing soccer.
“Coming from that background, you learn to look at things from those perspectives [and] understand how important it is to give back.”