Former Manchester United superstar Wayne Rooney is departing Major League Soccer side D.C. United and take up a role as a player-coach at English second tier club Derby County in January 2020, according to ESPN.
Rooney joined the MLS from Everton back in June 2018 and has collected 25 goals over his 45 total appearances.
“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, via the DC United official website. “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.”
“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.
“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.”
“Wayne Rooney is an extremely talented and top-class footballer,” Derby County manager Philip Cocu said, according to Derby County’s official website. “It is an exciting prospect for him to be joining Derby County and he can bring so much to this squad, both on and off the pitch.
“He has enjoyed a wonderful career, both in club football and for England, and he still has so much to give as well. His credentials speak for themselves. But to have a player with his leadership, skill, experience, character and work ethic will be huge for us.
“He knows what it takes to succeed as a player and I have no doubt he will have a positive impact right across the club. The inspiration and motivation this can generate is massive for all of our players from the first team right through to the youngsters in the academy.
“It is entirely in keeping with, and in support of, the club’s philosophy and approach. I am looking forward to working with Wayne from the start of next year and welcoming him to the club.”