Wayne Rooney’s dream return to boyhood club Everton is over after one season following the 32-year-old’s move to Major League Soccer side DC United.
England’s record goalscorer rejoined the Toffees after 13 years at Manchester United, where he is also the all-time leading scorer, last summer but has left just 12 months later for a new challenge in the United States.
The move has been in the pipeline for several weeks and new Evertonmanager Marco Silva admitted last month he would not stand in the striker’s way if he wanted to leave.
“It is fantastic to be joining DC United at such an exciting time in the club’s history with the new stadium opening in just a few weeks,” said Rooney, who flew out to America on Thursday and has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract.
“Moving to America and MLS fulfills another career ambition for me. I have the hunger to be a success here and will give DC 100% – as I have always done for every team I have ever played for.
“When I visited earlier this summer I was really impressed with everyone I met connected with the club, and of course the new Audi Field.
“Now I can’t wait to get on the pitch in a United shirt and join my new teammates to bring success to this club.”
Rooney, who turns 33 in October, will occupy a designated player spot on the club’s roster and he will be officially added to the squad when the transfer window reopens on 10 July, pending receipt of international clearance.
“This is a seminal moment for our fans and organization,” said DC United’s managing general partner and CEO Jason Levien.
“Wayne is a global soccer icon and his presence at DC United will elevate our product on the pitch and soccer as a whole in our city and in this country.
“Wayne has thrived when competing at the most elite levels of soccer and we’re thrilled to have his leadership as we enter this new era at Audi Field.”
Rooney, who when he re-signed for the Toffees almost a year ago admitted he had been wearing Everton pyjamas with his children, scored 11 goals in 40 appearances last season following his return from Old Trafford.
However, he failed to find the net after 18 December in what turned out to be a disappointing second half of the season both individually and for the club.
However, he leaves with the Toffees’ best wishes.
“Everton and Wayne Rooney have reached an agreement for the player to join MLS side DC United on a permanent transfer,” said an Everton statement.
“From everyone at Everton, we thank Wayne for his service to the club and wish him every success in the next three-and-a-half years with DC United.”