Beckham, Giovinco, De Rosario included on list of MLS's '25 Greatest'

Former Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Canadian Dwayne De Rosario, who won MLS championships and awards in bunches, is once again in select footballing company.

The stylish attacking midfielder/forward who retired in 2015 but returned for a brief stint in indoor soccer, is the lone Canadian on Major League Soccer's list of ``The 25 Greatest.'' The honour roll is part of the league's 25th anniversary celebrations.

De Rosario, now 42, joins the likes of former Toronto FC forward Sebastian Giovinco, global star David Beckham, Colombian playmaker Carlos Valderrama and such U.S. soccer royalty as Landon Donovan, Chris Wondolowski, Clint Dempsey and Cobi Jones.

The list, decided by a panel of some 200 former and current players, coaches, staff and media, was drawn from a list of 137 of the ``most decorated and impactful players'' in league history. The nominees were chosen for their impact on and off the field.

The 25 Greatest were not ranked with the league saying they are ``all equally worthy.''

``Definitely a huge honour, to say the least, getting that news today,'' said De Rosario, one of 11 MLS MVPs included on the list.

``It was always a goal of mine to get into the MLS and to play at the highest level as possible in North America,'' he added. ``And thankfully I was able to do that in 2001.''

De Rosario excelled in MLS, making 343 appearances across 13 seasons with 104 goals and 77 assists. That included two stints with hometown Toronto FC (2009-11 and 2014).

He won the MLS Cup four times _ twice with the San Jose Earthquakes (2001, 2003) and twice with the Houston Dynamo (2006, 2007). He was named MLS Cup MVP in 2001 and 2007 and won the MLS MVP and Golden Boot in 2011 when he split playing time with Toronto, the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United.

The man known as DeRo was named to the MLS Best XI six times (2005-07, 2009-11). He also won the Supporters' Shield and U.S. Open Cup. He helped Toronto win its first trophy, scoring three goals en route to the 2009 Canadian Championship.

De Rosario retired as Toronto's career leader in goals, assists, shots, shots on goal, game-winning goals and multi-goal games. He remains a club ambassador.

``Dwayne departs the game as an absolute legend, in every sense of the word, both for soccer and MLS but also Canadian soccer,'' then-Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko said at the time. ``Dwayne is a winner and a champion.''

Others in the top 25 with Toronto FC ties are former TFC head coach Preki, named the league's MVP in 1997 and 2003 while playing for the Kansas City Wizards, and former assistant Toronto coach Robin Fraser, a star defender with the Los Angeles Galaxy who is now head coach of the Colorado Rapids.

The list draws on nine countries with the 25 players appearing for 20 different MLS clubs over their careers. It features three goalkeepers, five defenders, nine midfielders, and eight who were predominantly forwards.

Canadians Alphonso Davies, Will Johnson and Pat Onstad as well as former Toronto coach Greg Vanney were also among the nominees for the 25 Greatest.

Also missing from the final list are international stars Thierry Henry, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and David Villa.

Other nominees were current Toronto FC players Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Omar Gonzalez. Former TFC players nominated included Edson Buddle, Danny Califf, Jeff Cunningham, Todd Dunivant, Amado Guevara, Drew Moor, Richard Mulrooney, Ronnie O'Brien and Carlos Ruiz.

Montreal was represented on the nominees list by former players Ignacio Piatti and Donovan Ricketts as well as Henry, the Impact's current coach. Davies was joined by fellow former Vancouver Whitecaps Joe Cannon and Kei Kamara.

The 25 Greatest is presented by AT and T.

MLS 25 Greatest

Jeff Agoos, Kyle Beckerman, David Beckham, Carlos Bocanegra, Dwayne De Rosario, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Marco Etcheverry, Robin Fraser, Sebastian Giovinco, Kevin Hartman, Cobi Jones, Robbie Keane, Chad Marshall, Josef Martinez, Tony Meola, Jaime Moreno, Eddie Pope, Preki, Steve Ralston, Nick Rimando, Carlos Valderrama, Diego Valeri, Chris Wondolowski, Bradley Wright-Phillips.

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