MLS- Toronto FC

Sizing up the DeRosario-Celtic mess

Dwayne DeRosario (Getty Images)

This what we do know at this point about Dwayne DeRosario's visit to Scotland to spend time with Celtic.

He went there for the purposes of a trial, only neither Toronto FC or Major League Soccer knew about it.

Whether it was simply a miscommunication, or a flagrant act by DeRosario, the whole thing became a mess when it became clear to the public that TFC had no idea hat was going on with its best player.

That brought us this statement from Toronto AFTER the club realized DeRosario was training with Celtic (and after making public statements denying that DeRosario was heading to Celtic):

"We were unaware of Dwayne's plan to train with Celtic and we will contact them to understand the situation. Obviously, if there is interest in a short term loan arrangement by either him or Celtic, they will need to approach us and the League formally and we will consider based on what is in TFC's best interest."

What has followed has been all sorts of blame shifting and story changing. Celtic is now saying DeRosario is not on trial, and was always in Glasgow just to train. Now Toronto and MLS appear ready to let DeRosario's visit go on despite the unauthorized way it began.

The biggest question now is why did it happen?

Why did DeRosario go to Celtic without permission? Was it really just DeRosario failing to secure permission he thought he had? Was it DeRosario's way of expressing unhappiness with the unsettled state of affairs at Toronto FC, which has no head coach and an interim general manager?

Or was it something more sinister, like DeRosario trying to get out of his Toronto FC contract in order to score the big European payday he may be running out of time on getting? His action could have led to the voiding of his MLS contract, though the league and Toronto FC have clearly decided for damage control rather than going after one of the best players in league history.

One thing is clear, this whole situation has put a major dent in DeRosario's reputation. He's beloved in Toronto, but TFC fans are clearly not happy with this latest fiasco and you wonder how many TFC fans and team officials would rather see DeRosario stay in Scotland.

Toronto FC isn't completely blameless. The fact that the club still hasn't hired a head coach or permanent general manager couldn't have helped this whole situation, and each passing day makes it a more worrisome situation for a club that was supposed to have a good off-season after hiring Juergen Klinsmann as an advisor.

What do you think of this mess? Think DeRosario should apologize and/or be punished for this situation? See him leaving MLS now? Think it was just a misunderstanding that will be forgotten by the start of the 2011 season?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Will

    No, Celtic has actually won championships. Celtic has no reason to show anyone any papers. This is a “controversy” only in the MLS realm.


  • Seriously?

    OK, first off, sports is not the same as real life, it’s not comparable, and I think it’s just silly when people try.

    I don’t have a contract, which is what this conversation is about. If I suck at my job, or make a bad mistake, causing the loss of money or whatever, I can be fired, or if my company is losing money, I can just be let go. That’s what people refer to when they talk about taking the security of signing a long term contract, which is something that I don’t have.

    Though that’s another good point, I know with managers at least, and perhaps with players too, in Europe, owners will often fire them, and then refuse to comply with the legal contract. That doesn’t happen here.

    And why do you mention the Bosman ruling? What does that have to do with players under contract, which is what I thought we were discussing? When an MLS player’s contract expires, they too can go to Europe free of charge. If you’re talking about trying to move within the league after a contract has expired, or when a team no longer wants you, a)that’s not what I thought was being talked about, and b) those rules have been changed a bit, in case you haven’t been following.

    As for MLS and their “take it or leave it” deals, so what? First off, if they don’t like the MLS offer, players do actually have other options in this country soccer-wise, with the lower tiers, or indoor, MLS is juet the highest level option. Second, just because someone plays soccer growing up, and states “I want to be a pro player”, it doesn’t mean that the largest league in the land has to give them whatever wage they player wants. If I went to college for say broadcasting, but nobody in that industry gives me the money I want, then I have to either take less money, or find another industry to go into. That’s life. Or to take it a bit further, to try to compare sports to real life, as you want to do, say I wanted to go into sports broadcasting, and I want to go to ESPN, because they’re the biggest. If they don’t give me what I want, then I can either take it, or go to a lower league, like a small local network.

    I’m not in any way saying MLS is perfect, but I just think many complaints are just unrealistic.


  • nebraskacoog

    He is not a striker, he is a midfielder. That is why he is so valuable. He produces a lot for a guy of his postion on the field.


  • nebraskacoog

    DeRo is a great player, I don’t know about 2nd best behind Donovan, but he is the best player on TFC. Yes, way better than Frei!


  • The Dude

    I disagree with Peter. Dero is better than 2/3 of the DPs that have played in this league. The whole category of DP is problematic, but for me, a DP is someone who stands out from the pack, and Dero has always been that player. TFC would be nothing without him.
    FWIW, I defend Dero in this whole fiasco. He was promised DP status at TFC, but then they reneged, and they didn’t even offer him a DP contract for this upcoming season. I can understand why he bolted. When you pay Mista 900K and you pay your best player 300K, problems will arise. If TFC actually had a coach and GM, they might have avoided this whole situation.


  • nebraskacoog

    Lol! DeRo is not going to be blamed by the TFC fans for his actions. Those fans hate the bafoons in the FO.


  • Seriously?

    Wow, you must work for a very benign company. Many companies won’t offer you more money unless you ask for it, and perhaps even not until you say your leaving for another job. There are even companies have compensation based more on education and such, and not as much on job performance.

    It’s a fact that people who aggressively negotiate make more money than people who don’t, independent of performance. It’s just with soccer, all the players have agents who aggressively negotiate, it’s part of the industry. And the better the player performs, the more aggressive the agent. Plus, player salaries are mostly public, so it’s easy to compare yourself to peers, and know when to ask for more. In the real world, that’s not the case, and companies don’t want people sharing such info, as it can cause problems companies don’t want to deal with.


  • nebraskacoog

    WTF are you talkin about? He was with the SJ/Houston org for 7-8 years (2001 to SJ and then 3 seasons in Houston). Some locker room cancer, huh…


  • Gazza

    So the rules that FIFA and UEFA set out for player trials don’t apply to Celtic? Because they’ve won in the SPL and in Europe 50 years ago? Give Over


  • b

    San Jose Earthquakes
    Major League Soccer MLS Cup (2): 2001, 2003
    Major League Soccer Supporters Shield (1): 2005

    Houston Dynamo
    Major League Soccer MLS Cup (2): 2006, 2007


  • JoeW

    I’m not saying someone should get a free transfer. But the Revs refused to sell Twellman–they said he was too valuable to the team. Nor did I ever say MLS should be a charity placement organization (though plenty of teams have ended up doing that by signing players like Tomas Ravelli and Hugo Sanchez).

    I’ve got no problem with MLS asking for a sizeable transfer fee. And let’s also be clear, that it’s tricky trying to speculate how things might have worked out. But let’s imagine for just a second that Twellman goes to the UK, starts and improves as a player. Maybe his career ends due to injury (as basically Ben Olsen’s as a player in terms of top potential). Or maybe he becomes a real NT player. You see, any club that looks solely from the perspective of “how much money can I make selling this player?” in hurtful to MLS. Because another consideration needs to be: what’s in the best interests of development of the player? That’s why DCU was pushing so hard for Adu to go to Holland rather than England (when it was clear that Adu wanted to go overseas).

    I’m not talking about “gifting” players. But I do think that the position that “he’s under contract so it’s irrelevant if he wants to transfer, we’re going to keep him” is one that’s foreign to top football. It’s not about players calling the shots. It’s about it’s stupid to have a player on your team who doesn’t want to be there. So if you think someone is a punk (like Carlos Ruiz) than don’t sign him. Otherwise, sell the player or pay up.

    To try and make this about technicalities (“he signed a contract, no-one put a gun to his head so big deal!”) is still a naive position. It ignores plenty of real world examples of buyer’s remorse where if people regret their decision or feel they got hosed on their contract, it often comes out to be bad for all parties concerns. One of the most basic criteria for a good agreement is: is this one that doesn’t damage the relationship between the parties, is sustainable and viewed as fair by all parties? If the answer to any of those is “no” than ultimately you’re going to have one of the parties either try to get out of the deal OR not give their best.

    Regarding Twellman, I agree, it was the league that signed him to $30K a year for his initial contract. Irrelevant of the motivation…at that point he was a failure with no proof he could play professionally. After two years with the Revs, I don’t know of anyone in MLS who didn’t feel that Twellman was one of the most underpaid players in the league. It was the Revs who refused to transfer him to PNE.

    As for DeRo, like I said, he should be fined. But also TFC is quickly gaining a reputation as a dysfunctional organization (which is a shame b/c I think they do a lot of things right in terms of the stadium and operations, it’s the on the field stuff they don’t get right).


  • Dan C

    If only klinnsman had had the chance to take over the Nats like everyone wanted! As advisor at TFC he still has NO coach, NO GM, and DOES have the star player UNSETTLED. Yes, DeRo’s issues were established well before Klinnsman arrived, but if I was advising, I would advise TFC to make him happy and avoid this UGLY mess. I thank god everyday that internet know it alls are simply that!


  • Seriously?

    First off, I simply don’t understand how anyone could just shrug off a signed contract as a “technicality”, that thought just boggles my mind. If a team refused to pay a player what they were contractually obligated to do, do you think a player would just say the contract was a technicality, and it was no big deal if they didn’t honor it? How does the notion of honoring a signed contract strike you as naïve? If you contracted someone to say put an addition on your house, gave them a deposit, and shortly after starting the contractor just up and left because they got a more lucrative job, and they said they didn’t want to repay you, would you just accept that and move on with life, without even a question?

    What I do think is naïve is saying that the Revs “refused” to ever sell Twellman. Do you honestly believe that they wouldn’t have sold him for any price whatsoever? Not for $200 million? Not for $1 billion? Have you never seen teams try to take strong stance when negotiating, or heard a team in any sport say that they won’t ever let this player go, and then a day or a week later that player is gone? The fact is, the Revs had a certain value for Twellman, PNE didn’t meet it. But people don’t want to accept that, because they wanted to see someone else go to Europe, so they instead chose to believe that the team wouldn’t have sold him, never ever ever.

    As for your imagined scenario, how would it have helped the Revs or MLS, if they’d sold Twellman for less than they rated him, and he went on to become a national team star? You say the team needs to consider what’s best for developing a player, which I agree they must think about for players on their roster, but you didn’t say how it helps the team to have a player to be sold for low money to develop when on another team. They’d get the benefit of a warm sense of satisfaction from having known the player before he was big? If you follow Boston sports, are you familiar with the fans reaction to the Sox letting a prospect go to Houston in order to get a middle reliever for the stretch run, when that prospect went on to become a superstar? I don’t recall many compliments being thrown out for letting that prospect develop in a different organization. Generally, when you let a player go, who goes on to bigger and better things, and the team doesn’t get much in return, fans think it’s pretty dumb. The obvious exception to that being many American soccer fans.

    I am fully aware of the problems of having a player on your roster who doesn’t want to be there, but just because someone says he wants to go doesn’t mean he becomes a bad employee. I’d really like to go to another company and make a lot more money, do you think my boss doesn’t assume that about me an all my coworkers? Perhaps people will think it a testament to Twellman’s character that he didn’t try to shoot his way out of town, but I think it’s sad that people might think that. The funny thing is, when the Revs’ roommates did that with a malcontent, and let Randy Moss go for a draft pick, experts were falling over themselves to criticize the deal, saying the Pats were giving up on the season, and so on, rather than thinking that maybe the Pats knew the player, and made the deal for a reason. I wonder how posterity will look back on that deal…


  • Brent McD

    Holden was 21 y.o. and nowhere near the player he is now. And DeRo is a great player only when he wants to be. But he truly has shown himself to be a spoiled brat. Houston traded him to Toronto so he could get a payday and go back home to Canada, and now he already wants to get out. He should be ashamed of himself.


  • Mike Newell

    Let him go, we’ll lose the creative force but it least the $400,000 will come off the cap. We could use the freed up money to build a “team” (Please understand this is a novel concept in Toronto). I mean look at the Cup winners Colorado won the league with Conor Casey, Omar Cummings and a roll of duck tape!

    Check out the blog: http://footballsavesall.blogspot.com/


  • GW


    Do you have any insight into how much TFC have listened and acted on to Klinsman’s recommendations?

    It seems like Klinsman has been there for a few months now and I’m curious to know how much of this mess is TFC’s and /or how much, if any is Klinsman’s. I don’t know much about TFC but since Klinsman seems to always be the USMNT heir apparent, knowledge of his role in this, if any, would be enlightening.


  • Alexandria

    For all the people who preach the good word that” at a real club they let the player go if they don’t want to be there” I give you, carlos tevez. I can even give you Wayne Rooney. The list probably can go on and on of players who make unngodly amonts of money who want out of there club but the club held them to there contract in one form or the other. So,I just don’t get all the MLS hate. I rally don’t.


  • I'd propose all Canadians eligible to play for the US team

    DeRo must feel trapped by the MLS. I think the MLS contract lock-in hurts the North American game, and players on this continent. Anybody heard of free trade? Good for all in the long run

    That said, DeRo’s action seems as unsurprising as perhaps it is desperate. I recall watching TC last year and it being clear DeRo was holding back. That he can still be one of the better MLS players, with the MLS standard rising, even when he is holding back says something about him as a footballer.

    One of the best to have played MLS – better than Becks I’d say – in MLS matches anyway.

    The Celtic thing… well, he is known for being a creative player…


  • Leo

    You’re daft if you think that Rooney actually wanted out of Man U. There are pictures of him and SAF laughing and hugging after that whole charade. It was a big joke.

    And Tevez wants out of everywhere. If he’s the captain, then he wants to coach. If he’s the captain-player-coach, then he’d want to be the GM. If he were the general manager, he’d want to own the entire operation. Tevez is Maradona 2.0…without the talent.


  • Joseph D'Hippolito

    The biggest question now is why did it happen?

    Because MLSE is the Canadian version of AEG.


  • http://www.datecover.com

    No offence, and sorry for the language, but De Ro is a big Tool. He may be a good player, but the bad boy thing doesn’t work for him. It does for Dempsey, but he does it to your face in the name of sport. This guy… I dunno… it’s like he does it because he’s mean. Celtic won’t take him. He’s rough enough, but they still wont.


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