One season after departing Manchester United to return to his boyhood club, Everton, Wayne Rooney appears to be on the move again. The 32 year old has had a mixed first season back for the Toffees, scoring 10 goals across all competitions but experiencing a so far dry 2018. Sam Alladyce seems to have created a system that doesn’t naturally fit the former United and England captain, and it seems his days of regular football are behind him.
So, as most former glorious footballers who are entering the twilight of their careers, Rooney has reportedly looked beyond these shores for a one final pay-day and bask in warm weather for a year or two. His destination of choice is not China, as was expected during his final season at United. Somehow, the thought of Rooney trying to settle in Shanghai, Beijing or any of China’s mega cities and giving post-match interviews in his new Mandarin tongue doesn’t seem particularly realistic.
Instead, the legendary forward has opted for the original and more glamorous retirement home that is the American MLS, with DC United, to be precise.
DC are the flagship team of the country’s capital of Washington D.C are were once the poster club for the MLS. A certain Freddy Adu burst onto the scene with DC in 2004 as a 14 year old prodigy, before he went on to flop on the biggest stage in Europe.
The club enjoyed their most successful years in the late 90’s, claiming several Eastern Conference league titles and MLS Cups, before fading into also-rans during the noughties and current day. The rise of LA Galaxy, in part by David Beckham arriving in 2006, and the launch of several major franchises over the past decade, including arch-rivals New York Red Bulls and NYCFC amongst others, have diluted their superiority.
Rooney’s move, reported to be around £12m might signal the start of a resurgence, however the MLS has moved on from the days of European stars heading across the pond to retire. Sure, it still happens, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andrea Pirlo, Bastian Schweinsteiger and now Rooney are proving, but there is much greater prominence being placed on organic growth across the country, with the launch of various youth academies and investment in grass-roots soccer. Transfers, too, are less about luring ageing legends from the big European leagues and more about investing in young players that can be sold across to Europe, a reverse on the traditional transit of footballers in the USA.
Rooney will find it difficult, but you can hardly blame the man for heading across the Atlantic to Washington DC to live in relative peace, escape the UK media obsession with him and pick up a handy fee every month.