D.C. United rewarded Dwayne De Rosario for being named MLS MVP in 2011 by making him the team's highest-paid player in 2012, signing the Canadian playmaker to a contract extension Monday.
The terms of the two-year deal, which includes a club option for a third season, were not disclosed, but it is understood that De Rosario will be paid more this season than either of United's designated players. Branko Boskovic and Hamdi Salihi will earn in excess of the maximum charge -- $350,000 -- that is assessed to D.C. United's salary cap, which is $2.81 million this season.
Last year, De Rosario had a base salary of $425,000.
"[De Rosario] is the centerpiece of our team -- both on the field and in the locker room, and we are thrilled he'll be wearing our colors for years to come," United general manager Dave Kasper said in a statement.
Instead of adding a third designated player, which would have cost D.C. United a one-time luxury tax of $250,000, the team used allocation funds to pay down De Rosario's salary cap charge. United recently received allocation money from the Portland Timbers in exchange for a two-year rental of an international roster spot.
Boskovic had a guaranteed compensation of $525,000 and a base salary of $389,000 in 2011. Salihi's salary will be learned at a later date when figures are revealed by the MLS Players Union. Kasper said the recent signing of Salihi had no impact on the negotiations with De Rosario, who has won four MLS Cups (two with San Jose, two with Houston) and is a six-time MLS All-Star and six-time member of the MLS Best XI.
De Rosario was also named Canadian male soccer player of the year in 2011, which he started with Toronto FC. He was subsequently traded to New York and then to D.C. United, where the 33-year-old finished with a career- and MLS-best 16 goals and 11 assists to earn his first league MVP award. He became the first player in team history to record two hat tricks in the same season, his 11th in MLS.
The second hat trick, which came in a span of 18 minutes in a 4-1 win over Real Salt Lake in September, prompted United coach Ben Olsen to say, "Oh, we'll keep him around. I've talked to my owner, Will Chang. He's not going anywhere."
Negotiations began shortly after the season ended and never became a distraction as the team prepares for the regular season, which starts March 10. D.C. United has missed the playoffs for four straight seasons.
"It's nice to be with an organization that has the same goals and ambitions as I," De Rosario said in a statement. "D.C. United has a very rich history and one that we want to relive in the near future. Hopefully we can start this year."