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Fuel Soccer Talk: Rooney quitting D.C. United for Derby County; Rooney says “family” was deciding factor; NWSL game moved to bigger stadium

Wayne Rooney to join Derby County after MLS season

Rooney: “I am looking forward to joining Phillip Cocu, his coaching staff and 1st-team squad. I’m sure I can make a big contribution and can’t wait to meet everyone, especially supporters. I’m equally excited to begin my coaching career working with first team and Academy.”

Wayne Rooney is departing D.C. United ahead of schedule to return to England after the conclusion of the 2019 MLS season, the club announced Tuesday morning, citing the player’s need “to be closer to family.”

“With the consent of D.C. United, Rooney completed negotiations to become a player-coach for Derby County in the English Championship in 2020,” stated a club release.

Rooney has signed an 18-month contract with the Rams, who recently hired Dutch legend Phillip Cocu as their new manager to replace Frank Lampard after the former New York City FC star departed for Chelsea, effective Jan. 1. Though terms of the deal with Derby County were undisclosed, the release noted that Rooney will become a club ambassador for D.C.

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Rooney says family was ‘the most important’ factor in quitting DC United for Derby

Wayne Rooney said that his children’s education played a factor in deciding to leave the United States and return to English football with Derby County. Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday following his surprise move to the Championship club, Rooney admitted that family factors had to be taken into consideration. ‘It is something we looked at, having four young boys and for my eldest boy (Kai) it is a crucial time with school,’ Rooney said.

‘It is the most important thing for me but it wasn’t a decision solely on family. A few factors led to me coming back here.’

Another of those factors was the chance for Rooney to follow former England teammates Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard into management. Rooney has joined the second-tier side as a player-coach and will also work to obtain his coaching badges. Lampard left Derby in the summer to take over at Chelsea, while Gerrard has started his second season as Rangers boss.

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Sky Blue FC moves match to Red Bull Arena to accommodate bigger crowd

Is this a sign of things to come in women’s professional soccer? Sky Blue FC, New Jersey’s professional women’s soccer team, announced today that the club’s Aug. 18 match against Reign FC will be moved from Rutgers’ Yurcak Field to Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

Sky Blue FC captain and U.S. women’s national team co-captain Carli Lloyd, Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, and Cameroon defender Estelle Johnson will face off against Reign FC’s Megan Rapinoe, who won the 2019 World Cup Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards, midfielder Allie Long, and seven other World Cup players.

“This is a big moment for our club, our players and fans,” said Sky Blue Interim General Manager Alyse LaHue. “We asked our fans if they would support this idea and they very definitively said yes. We’re always listening to and looking for ideas that enhance the fan experience as we push this club forward.”

“We’re beyond excited that we have to move the game to Red Bull Arena because fan interest is so high,” said Carli Lloyd. “This will be a great experience for my teammates and another opportunity for Sky Blue to continue building toward a successful and sustainable future.”

“We are very pleased to welcome Sky Blue to Red Bull Arena, and to have this match come together after months of planning,” said Red Bulls General Manager Marc de Grandpre. “Our organization strives to support and grow the game locally, and hosting an NWSL match at Red Bull Arena is a great opportunity to support Sky Blue and celebrate the local soccer community.”

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

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