THE YOUNGER BROTHER of Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney will play in the MLS next year, after he was drafted by the New York Red Bulls in the league’s SuperDraft.
John Rooney (20), an attacking midfielder at Macclesfield Town, was picked by the New Jersey-based outfit as the 25th pick in the draft, along with American striker Corey Hertzog from Pennsylvania’s Reading United.
Rooney Jr is slightly shorter, but also lighter, than his more illustrious older brother, standing at 5’9″ (an inch shorter than Wayne) and weighing 11 stone 10 pounds.
Rooney had already known that he would be playing in the MLS next season, having signed centrally with the league last week. The identity of the team taking his services for the 2011 season was unknown until now, however, with Rooney having trained in front of club scouts at a camp in Florida last week. He had also undergone trials at the Seattle Sounders late last season.
The journey from Macclesfield to the Red Bulls (so called after their owners and main sponsors) will be a significant one; instead of playing at Moss Rose with its capacity of 6,300 – with less than half of the ground being seated – he will now be playing at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey, in front of potential crowds of 25,000.
He also joins a squad already containing the likes of Thierry Henry and Mexican international Rafael Marquez.
Rooney was reported in 2008 to be considering declaring for the Republic of Ireland, despite being born in – and having his elder brother represent – England.
Here’s a quick glimpse of some of the ability that may have gotten New York interested.