The 2019 season will be Wayne Rooney's last with DC United.
The celebrated forward announced he will be returning to England to be a player-coach for Derby County in the English Championship in 2020.
“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 in a statement. "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.”
Rooney was the latest in line of overseas stars to come to MLS - following players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham - when he signed what was reportedly a 2.5 year deal worth $13 million in 2018. His arrival injected stardom and energy into the franchise and his MLS career has included moments like this one in 2018:
Wayne Rooney is not human 👀 pic.twitter.com/pwWE67aoSw— ESPN (@espn) August 13, 2018
And this goal earlier this season:
WAYNE ROONEY FROM PAST MIDFIELD!!!! pic.twitter.com/dJ5BriAOx3— Major League Soccer (@MLS) June 27, 2019
He has nine regular-season games left with the team, which is currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. British newspapers have pointed to his wife's homesickness as one reason why he's leaving the US to head home.
"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," Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien, D.C. United Co-Chairmen, said in a 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."