A soccer legend is returning to the nation’s capital.
D.C. United officially announced on Tuesday that the club is naming Wayne Rooney as their head coach, to take effect as soon as the English national receives his work visa. In the meantime, interim head coach Chad Ashton will remain in charge of the team.
“Wayne is a soccer legend and one of the most exciting and dynamic up-and-coming managers in our sport,” said Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan, Co-Chairmen of the team. “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.”
Rooney makes a return to Washington after spending two seasons in Black and Red in 2018-19. As team captain during that span, the striker scored 23 goals and tallied 15 assists in 48 appearances. In just that short stint in D.C., Rooney was named an All-Star, MLS Best XI, and was an MVP finalist.
Rooney, 36, most recently served as manager of English Championship side Derby County. He held that position for just about 18 months before he resigned three weeks ago. He could become the D.C. United's first long-time coach since Hernan Losada was fired back in April.
Rooney’s playing career speaks for itself. Before joining D.C. United, the forward cemented himself as one of the game’s best scorers in the English Premier League and English national team. He didn’t skip a beat once he got to Washington, as he electrified the city with plays like this, not soon to be forgotten:
The head coach does have his work cut out for him, though. D.C. United started the 2022 campaign off somewhat well but has cooled off considerably since then. They have the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference and the second-worst goal differential in MLS with -14.
Most recently, the club took a 7-0 beating at the hands of Philadelphia last week. All is not bleak, though, as forward Taxi Fountas was just named an MLS All-Star earlier Tuesday.