Wayne Rooney Ditching D.C. United For Derby County Player-Coach Gig

Wayne Rooney will become the Derby County player-coach in January, after the 2019 MLS season.

If you’ve enjoyed the entertaining Wayne Rooney MLS stint so far, savor these last few months of the season.

Rooney, the iconic Manchester United and Everton striker who joined D.C. United in 2018, will leave the club following the 2019 season. 

Wayne Rooney announced Tuesday morning he’ll become a player-coach of Derby County in January.

Rooney will finish out the 2019 season with D.C. United and said he remains fully committed to the club’s ambitions of winning a fifth MLS Cup. 

“I remain fully focused on giving my all for the team for the rest of this season and repaying the support shown by the Black-and-Red faithful by hopefully delivering an MLS Cup to Audi Field,” Rooney said. “My time in Major League Soccer is something I will always be proud of. The supporters in the Screaming Eagles, Barra Brava and District Ultras have made my time in America so enjoyable. 

“While the decision to move home was a tough one, family is everything to us and we make this change to be closer to the ones we love back in England. The opportunity to go back home and start the next step of my career in coaching was the factor that made my mind up. I would like to thank everyone at D.C. United for the incredible support my family and I have received over my two seasons at the club.”

Derby County is in the second tier of English football. Last season it was coached by Rooney’s former England teammate Frank Lampard, who moved on to coach Christian Pulisic and Chelsea this season. 

Rooney signed a rich two-and-a-half-year deal in June of 2018 but will not finish out the final year on his contract. He has been one of the league’s must-watch players since joining MLS, scoring goals from the halfway line but also picking up horrible red cards.  

“After speaking to Wayne and understanding his difficult situation of being so far away from his family, we have accepted that this is the best decision for all parties,” D.C. United co-chairmen Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien said in a joint statement. “Our main focus now is the 2019 MLS season and ensuring we make a push towards the playoffs with the ultimate goal of bringing an MLS Cup back to the District. Wayne is an exceptional leader and one of the most iconic players to play the game, so we look forward to his continued contributions to the team this season.”

Embed from Getty Images

D.C. United said Rooney will become a club ambassador but did not disclose the terms of his deal to Derby County. 

Wayne Rooney will be missed in MLS, but you can’t help but be excited to see what he does as a player coach for Derby County. 

Videos you might like