The Next Gen (presented by Jones DesLauriers | Navacord): York’s Osaze De Rosario lights up the CPL in debut season

Goals run in the De Rosario family.

Osaze, the 21-year-old York United striker, followed in the footsteps of his father Dwayne (scorer of 22 international goals for Canada) this season by lighting up the Canadian Premier League.

The younger De Rosario scored a remarkable 12 CPL goals for York in 2022, his first season with the Nine Stripes, finishing second in the league and just one back of the Golden Boot.

Returning to Canada after leaving his prior club in Ukraine last February, De Rosario went on to score or assist 48 per cent of York’s goals in a breakout campaign.

The young striker appeared in all but one of York’s matches in 2022, carrying a tremendous amount of the attacking burden for the club.

“He’s got a great attitude toward the game, he works hard. He’s big, strong, physical, athletic — he’s got a lot of great attributes — and he’s a really good finisher,” said Martin Nash, De Rosario’s head coach at York.

De Rosario got on the board quickly with his first CPL goal in just his second game, finding the net from distance to tie the game against FC Edmonton and bag a point for his side. He went on to score in three straight games, and although he went through a dry spell in May and June — along with the rest of his team — he found his form again later in the season and helped push the Nine Stripes forward.

“Almost right away he started scoring some goals and getting some confidence, and as that confidence built he’s really become a solid player for us,” Nash added. “He’s learning along the way; he’s still a young player learning the game, learning his role, and I think he’s getting a lot better… With the tools he’s got, the sky’s the limit.”

For De Rosario himself, he feels like he too massive strides this past season, learning how to play as an out-and-out number nine and shoulder so much of the load in the attack — although he’s also quick to praise his teammates for being able to get him the ball.

“I felt like I learned a lot — the clinicalness of being a striker, of carrying a team, making sure we’re doing all good things and I’m keeping the team in the game,” he said. “I felt like my body of work has improved over the games, understanding my position to a higher level, trying to get to the next level. I felt like just during this whole season it’s been a grind, because my team [had] some rough patches, but it’s good, you need those to learn even more about the sport.”