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Julius JamesThe Houston Dynamo have acquired defender Julius James and allocation money from Toronto FC in exchange for Midfielder Dwayne De Rosario, it was announced Friday.

"We would like to thank Dwayne for his leadership, commitment, and contributions during his tenure with the Dynamo," said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. "He has been a valuable asset to our team, but it is time for both parties to move on. This move is in the best interest of everybody and now gives the Dynamo real opportunity to address a number of its off-season goals. We are receiving a bright young talent in Julius James, and now have great salary cap flexibility to bring in players that can add to our strong base."

James comes to the Dynamo after his rookie season in Toronto, where he saw action in 13 MLS games. James, 24, is highly regarded as a tough, physical back with size and speed. He is a Trinidad & Tobago native and member of its national team. He earned his first cap against Guyana on September 3, 2008. In his MLS debut, he scored in the 49th minute against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

James was the ninth overall selection in the 2008 SuperDraft out of the University of Connecticut. At UConn, he earned First Team All-Northeast and First Team All-Big East honors. Additionally, he was named to the Big East All-Tournament Team and won Big East Defensive Player of the Year three years in a row. He was also a M.A.C. Herman Trophy semifinalist in 2007

"Julius is an aggressive, fast defender that fits really well in our style of play. I think he has a very bright future, not only in our club, but also in Major League Soccer," added Kinnear.

In his three seasons with the Dynamo, De Rosario scored 24 goals and distributed 11 assists, also netting two goals and four assists in 12 playoff games.

"The organization thanks Dwayne for his very valuable contributions," said Dynamo Chief Operating Officer Chris Canetti. "Over the last few days, it became apparent that this move was necessary. Before the trade, our salary cap limitations precluded us from making any significant moves. We now have plenty of flexibility on how we want to build our roster and field another very competitive squad, both domestically and internationally."

Under new rules, MLS team can now have between 18 and 20 players on its senior roster. The Dynamo currently has 15 players under contract for 2009. The Dynamo will compete in a minimum of 39 games this season between MLS, CONCACAF Champions League and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

"This trade is not a first step in overhauling the current roster or starting a rebuilding process," added Canetti. "We are still in a win-now mindset and believe that this move gives us the best chance to be winners in 2009. The trade addresses both our immediate cap challenges and a need on the back line. Additionally, this move helps us look to the future as we add a more young talent to a team of many proven veterans."

The Houston Dynamo will open their 2009 MLS regular season at home on Saturday, March 21 against the 2008 MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew. Kickoff for this game is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (TV: Fox Soccer Channel). For more information, please call the Houston Dynamo ticket line at 713-276-7500 or log on to the Dynamo Ticket Center.

TRANSACTION: Houston Dynamo acquires D Julius James and allocation money from Toronto FC in exchange for M Dwayne De Rosario.