Wayne Rooney has been appointed as D.C. United’s new manager, the club announced, as he prepares to make MLS his next coaching stop. Prior to joining Derby County, Rooney had previously played for D.C. United in 2018 and 2019. Before becoming Derby’s head coach, the former Manchester United star was a standout player for the team. Despite facing an almost insurmountable struggle posed by financial issues, Derby almost managed to stay in the Championship.
“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,” said Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan Co-Chairmen of D.C. United. “
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 moved to D.C. in June 2018 after a stint at his old team Everton, and after just three games, he was given the captain’s armband. A now-famous tackle and assist versus Orlando City in his debut season symbolized D.C.’s comeback to relevance thanks to Rooney after several unsuccessful seasons. In total, he scored 25 goals over the course of 58 games before moving to Derby as a player-coach.
He was hired as a member of an interim coaching team after the club fired Phillip Cocu following a difficult start to the 2020–21 campaign and Derby at the bottom of the standings. In January 2021, he was finally named permanent manager, and that season, he helped the team narrowly avoid being demoted. A 21-point deduction at the start of the 2021–22 campaign all but assured Derby’s relegation. Nevertheless, despite being unable to add players, Derby finished just seven points outside of safety. After declaring he would only stay with the club if new owners could be found to address the team’s financial plight, Rooney resigned from his position in June.