Wayne Rooney to leave DC United at end of 2019 season & become player-coach in England
The MLS side confirmed in a club statement that star forward Rooney would be leaving for England "to be closer to family" and the club had given their consent for the 33-year-old to take over the reigns of player-coach of English Championship team Derby in 2020.
Rooney explained his decision in a club statement on Tuesday, in which he thanked supprters and insisted he remained "focused" to the DC cause, but that his decision hinged on a desire to move closer to loved ones in England.
“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.
"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.”
Derby, who play in England's second tier, are currently managed by former Barcelona and Netherlands star Phillip Cocu, after Rooney's former England teammate Frank Lampard left to joined his ex club Chelsea this summer.
Last season, Lampard had taken Derby to the Championship playoff final, where they lost out on Premier League promotion to Aston Villa.
Rooney joined the Washington, D.C. franchise in a deal from Premier League Everton in 2018, just one season after leaving Manchester United, the club with which he enjoyed the best success of his career, winning five Premier League titles, one FA Cup and a UEFA Champions League while becoming the Old Trafford club's all-time top scorer.
Internationally, Rooney became his country's captain and all-time top scorer with 53 goals in 120 appearances for England, playing in three consecutive World Cups in 2006, 2010 and 2014.