Skip to main content


De Rosario, Gayle headed to Canada Soccer Hall of Fame as Class of 2024

Dwayne DeRosario Dwayne DeRosario - The Canadian Press

Former MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario and longtime international Robyn Gayle have been named to the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame.

"They are forever heroes that will now be immortalized alongside the greatest Canadian soccer players of all time,” Canada Soccer president Charmaine Crooks said in a statement.

Gayle, who is Toronto FC's performance and wellness coach, received the news from Toronto coach John Herdman in front of staff and players. De Rosario was informed at home via Zoom with former Canada captain Atiba Hutchinson helping deliver the news.

Ken MacLean, chair of the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame committee, was also involved in the notifications.

De Rosario and Gayle will be honoured later this year at a national team match. They join the Class of 2024 alongside builders Christine O’Connor and Leeta Sokalski, the first two female administrators ever honoured by the Hall.

A forward turned attacking midfielder simply known as DeRo, De Rosario scored 104 MLS goals and added another 22 for his country, a then-Canadian record. He was named Canada Soccer Player of the Year four times and won MLS Cup MVP honours twice.

Gayle, a glue member of the women's squad, won 81 caps for Canada from 2006 to 2015, winning Olympic bronze, Pan American Games gold and silver at the inaugural FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship.

De Rosario made 81 appearances for Canada from 1998 to 2015, taking part in five World Cup qualifying cycles and five CONCACAF Gold Cups.

At club level, playing for San Jose, Houston, Toronto FC (twice), New York Red Bulls and D.C. United, De Rosario won the MLS Cup four times (2001 and '03 with San Jose and 2006 and '07 with Houston), was twice named championship game MVP (2001 and 2007) and earned MVP honours in the 2006 all-star game. He was the league MVP in 2011 — he was runner-up on two other occasions — when he also captured the Golden Boot.

In December 2020, he was named to "The 25 Greatest," part of MLS's celebration of its 25th season. He was the only Canadian on the list, which included David Beckham, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and Sebastian Giovinco.

De Rosario, who was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2022, won the Canadian Championship twice and the U.S. Open Cup once.

An attacker with a penchant for spectacular goals, he won MLS Goal of the Year honours in 2004 and 2005.

Gayle's value and accomplishments — on and off the field — have probably gone under the radar for many.

"I don't think people in Canada will fully appreciate or understand the impact that she's had on the game," said Herdman, who coached her with Canada.

Herdman pointed to Gayle's passion and determination on the pitch and her selflessness off it, saying she has a "unique ability" to bring the best out of those around her.

"She's a special person and this recognition is fully deserved," he added.

An elite defender at the University of North Carolina, Gayle was the defensive MVP of the 2006 College Cup. Gayle played both as a defensive midfielder and defender for the Tar Heels.

An all-round athlete, she ran track, played volleyball and captained the basketball team at St. Francis Xavier High School.

At club level, Gayle won Canada Soccer’s national championships and reached the USL W-League championship game three times. At the London Olympics, Gayle stepped in for Candace Chapman, only to hurt her hamstring in Canada's 3-0 win over South Africa.

Her club career included stints with the Ottawa Fury, Vancouver Whitecaps and Washington Spirit.

After retiring as a player, Gayle went on to become a key member of Herdman's staff, both with Canada and TFC.

Since 2000, the Hall has welcomed 144 players, 13 coaches, 10 officials and 45 builders as honoured members.

De Rosario initially announced his retirement in May 2015 but returned to action in late 2018 to play indoors for the Mississauga MetroStars. He opened his Major Arena Soccer League account at the age of 40, in an 11-3 loss in Baltimore against the three-time defending champion Blast.

The brief foray into indoor soccer delayed his eligibility for the Hall of Fame, which only considers players five years after their retirement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2024.