Wayne Rooney looks to lead D.C. United to turnaround

D.C. United started out good but struggled quickly. They had to fire head coach Hernan Losada and while riding it out with an interim coach, had to figure out who could help them turn the season around and possibly have a brighter future if it is too late to turn it around in the present. They went towards Wayne Rooney, who as a player helped lead a turnaround that led the Black and Red to the playoffs. He looks for the same as a coach and he’s off to a good start after his work visa approved.

He’s off to a good start as D.C. United scored two clutch goals in stoppage time to get three points against Orlando SC, the goals coming from Chris Durkin and Taxi Fountas.

Rooney captained United in 2018 and 2019 then spent two years as Manager or Derby County while they competed in the English Championship. He takes over for Interim Coach Chad Ashton. During Rooney’s time as a player with the Black and Red, he appeared in 48 matches, scored 23 goals, had 15 assists, was voted MLS Best XI in 2018 and was an All Star in 2019. In addition, he was a finalist for the MLS MVP in 2018.

“Wayne is a soccer legend and one of the most exciting and dynamic up-and-coming managers in our sport. He’s already proven in his young coaching career that he knows how to lead a group through adversity. He has an understanding of our league and what it takes to be successful in Major League Soccer thanks to his two-year stay with us as a player. The passion he showed while wearing Black-and-Red electrified our city and our club and we are so excited to welcome him back as our Head Coach,” Co Charimen Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan said in a press release.

Rooney got promoted as full time manager of Derby County in January of 2021 following a successful stint as player manager navigating the club from he bottom of the English Championship table to safety, avoiding relegation by three points. Prior to his first full season, the club was given a 21 point deductions but he Football Association for admitting to breaches of profitability and sustainability.

Despite this disadvantage, the 36 year old guided the club to a record of 14-13-19 with 55 points, which would have been enough to secure safety in the championship for another season if not for the point reduction. He resigned as Manager of Derby County on June 24, 2012.

More on Rooney’s career overseas with Manchester United:

As a professional, Rooney’s playing career began in the English Premier League on August 17, 2002 when he made his senior debut for Everton FC and assisted a goal helping the Toffees to a 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur. At 18 years old after two seasons with Everton, Rooney joined Manchester United in a record transfer deal ($35 million) where he played 13 seasons and scored 208 Premier League goals in 491 appearances, which is good for second best all-time, only behind Alan Shearer (260). During his time in Manchester, Rooney captured 16 major trophies, including five Premier League titles, the UEFA Champions League in 2008, and the FA Cup in 2006. On the international stage, Rooney holds the record for the most-capped field player in England history (120) and is also the all-time leader in goals for The Three Lions (53). He appeared in three World Cups (2006, 2010, and 2014), as well as three UEFA European Championships (2004, 2012, and 2016), and captained his country 24 times across all competitions.

“Wayne is a winner and a competitor. His work ethic and what he demands of himself and his players is second to none,” said Dave Kasper, President of Soccer Operations for D.C. United. “Wayne’s approach to the game and the style of soccer he wants to play fits within our philosophy and we believe he is the right person to lead our club moving forward.”

Rooney talked about the emotions of a dramatic victory from his players, “For the players more than myself, the players needed that. The season has to start now.”

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