Wayne Rooney is headed back to Major League Soccer, this time to lead D.C. United as head coach.
He will take over from interim manager Chad Ashton, who stepped in after the departure of Hernan Losada in April 2022. Ashton is set to remain in charge until Rooney receives his P-1 Visa, the club confirmed.
Before joining the Black-and-Red’s staff, Rooney spent a year-and-a-half leading Derby County in the English Championship. He initially helped the Rams avoid relegation during the 2020/2021 campaign as a player-coach, but couldn’t hold off League One in his second season.
He resigned as Derby County’s coach in late June, as the English club undergoes the fall from the second to the third tier.
“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,” Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan, co-chairmen of D.C. United, said in a release.
“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 returns to D.C. United after featuring as a key figure from 2018 to 2019, where he managed 23 goals and 15 assists in 48 regular-season games. The forward also led the team to the 2018 and 2019 MLS playoffs, the last time featured in the postseason tournament.
He now takes over the Black-and-Red as they sit in 13th place on the Eastern Conference table with 17 points in 17 games and a record of 5W-10L-2D. Though he has a tough road ahead of him, team officials are confident he can get the job done.
“Wayne is a winner and a competitor. His work ethic and what he demands of himself and his players is second to none,” president of soccer operations Dave Kasper said in a release. “Wayne’s approach to the game and the style of soccer he wants to play fits within our philosophy and we believe he is the right person to lead our club moving forward.
Rooney’s full coaching staff will be announced at a later date. His coaching debut awaits as he goes through the visa process.