Why Wayne Rooney is joining MLS’s worst club, DC United

The former England captain will find himself at a faded North American superpower. But they hope he will be the face of their climb back to the top

Wayne Rooney made his first visit to Washington DC earlier this month. Had he picked up a newspaper he’d have been faced with images of sporting celebration in the city. The Washington Capitals’ victorious run to the Stanley Cup final captivated his new hometown, not always the most obvious of sporting hotbeds.

ESPN analyst Michael Wilbon once called Washington a “minor league sports town,” but over 100,000 fans attended the Caps’ victory parade on 12 June. DC United, the team Rooney has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with, haven’t registered in this way for a long time, if ever.

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