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Wayne Rooney standing down as coach of MLS club DC United

Former England international Wayne Rooney is leaving his position as head coach of Major League Soccer’s DC United after the team missed out on a spot in the playoffs.

The club said in a statement that the decision to part ways had been “mutually agreed”.

“We have spoken with Wayne and agreed it is best for us to part ways at this time. This decision creates the avenue for our next General Manager to have the full opportunity to impart a new philosophy and structure onto our sporting operations, which begins with the critical identification of a Head Coach who will best align with this,” said Jason Levien the club’s CEO and co-chairman. 

“We are grateful to Wayne Rooney for all he has done for our club and for soccer in the Nation’s Capital, first as a DC United player and captain and most recently as our coach.

“He remains an important part of the DC United family and a valued and cherished friend,” he added.

Rooney told reporters that it was the right moment to move on.

“It’s the right time. I’ve done everything I can to get this club into the playoffs. It’s not a single thing that’s happened. It’s about timing,” former Manchester United forward Rooney said after his team’s final game of the season, a 2-0 win over New York City FC.

Rooney had been manager of English club Derby County before quitting in June, 2022, with the club in financial crisis.

A month later he joined DC United, having earlier been with the club near the end of his playing career in 2018 and 2019..

He took over with the club next to bottom of the Eastern Conference and they finished last season in bottom place.

This season, despite inconsistent results, the team had improved to ninth place but with other teams having one game remaining that wasn’t enough to secure a playoff spot.

Rooney, 37, told reporters that he had no plans for his future but indicated he would be heading back to England.

“What lies ahead, I don’t know. I’ve seen a lot of reports in the media. I’m going back with nothing lined up.”

“I want to say on record to everyone involved in the club — staff, players: I’m grateful,” he added.

Rooney had said last month that he was frustrated about the a lack of discussion over his expiring contract.

The club has been without a general manager since Lucy Rushton was fired last October, with president of soccer operations Dave Kasper and technical director Stewart Mairs handling roster decisions.

Rooney’s wife and family have remained in England while he has been working at the club.

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