DC United were once one of the best soccer teams in the States, but in recent years, the franchise has faded away. In fact, the MLS side from Washington are now considered one of the worst outfits in the league, frequently finding themselves at the foot of the Eastern Conference propping up the division. Drastic measures need to be taken for the Black-and-Red to find the same success as the epic Bruce Arena period of the late 1990s. The acquisition of England legend Wayne Rooney could represent the start of a new era for the four-time MLS Cup winners.
Rooney is a Marquee Signing
The MLS has welcomed some major international stars throughout its history, and Rooney is one of the most successful. He’s the biggest English signing since David Beckham, and easily stacks up alongside the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Zlatan Ibrahimović, and Kaka in terms of success. He has won everything there is to win at club level with Manchester United, with five Premier League titles, one FA Cup, three League Cups, and one Champions League win to his name. In his glittering career, the man who made the step up to the English top flight at the age of 16 notched 253 goals for United, making him the club’s top scorer of all time. He also tops the scoring charts for England, having bagged 53 goals in 119 appearances for the Three Lions.
There is no denying that the acquisition of Rooney on a three-and-a-half year deal is a marquee signing for DC United, but Ben Olsen must realise that he is getting a player who is well past his prime. In fact, Everton’s chances in the English top flight may improve with Rooney off the books. As of 24th of July, Rooney’s boyhood club are at odds of 5/1 with the sports betting website Betway to finish in the top six. This is some contrast to last season when they were almost struggling with a relegation battle. The 32-year-old no longer has the pace to play as an out-and-out striker, and in recent years has been used more as a creative midfielder. It’s Rooney’s vision and skill on the ball which will be most useful to his new MLS club.
Rooney Should Look to Emulate Robbie Keane Success
Rooney should look to the success of LA Galaxy legend Robbie Keane for inspiration when thinking about his future in the MLS. The Irishman found a new lease of life when he joined the five-time MLS Cup winners at the age of 31. Keane spent six seasons at the StubHub Center, and scored a hugely impressive 83 goals in 125 showings for the club. But prior to that, his career in the UK had seemingly stagnated. After a successful spell with Tottenham Hotspur between 2002 and 2008, the Republic of Ireland’s all-time top scorer moved between various clubs without really settling. It seemed his footballing days were winding down until he moved to the USA.
After moving back to Everton last season, Rooney faded away slightly and his glory days at United seemed a distant memory. A reboot in the MLS could be exactly what the 32-year-old needs in his career right now. But Rooney should also take note of Premier League legends who haven’t managed to cut it across the pond, such as Steven Gerrard. The last thing he wants to do is follow in the footsteps of the former Liverpool captain, whose time at LA Galaxy was somewhat less than memorable.
Rooney has the opportunity to revitalise his career at DC United, and his signature could also represent a turning of the tides at the club. The Washington franchise doesn’t have a history of signing big names from Europe, but with the Rooney addition, they may be ready to take on more established stars. There are also reports that billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong could be set to buy the club who recently moved into their new Audi Field home. If this comes to fruition, the Los Angeles Lakers minor owner would be able to pump more funds into strengthening the DC squad further.