Wayne Rooney’s night at a TINY college stadium: empty bleachers as his DC United fall 1-0


Wayne Rooney’s night coaching at a TINY college stadium – on Normal Avenue! Parking garage viewers, empty bleachers and a call to ‘DREAM BIG’… but DC United crash out the US Open Cup in Red Bulls defeat

  • Wayne Rooney coached in suburban New Jersey on Tuesday as his team lost
  • And it was quite the contrast from his storied playing career with Man United
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news 

16 years ago last week, Wayne Rooney played at the San Siro against AC Milan, as his Manchester United side were dispatched 3-0 by a glittering team of stars like Andrea Pirlo and Kaka.

Coaching has now brought him to far less glamorous locales.

The DC United coach manned his team Tuesday at tiny Montclair State University Soccer Park in New Jersey, as his side lost 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls in the US Open Cup.

While New York has its own 25,000 capacity stadium less than a 30 minute drive away, it’s not uncommon for teams to use alternate venues for cup games expected to garner lower attendances than regular season matches.

And that’s how five-time Premier League winner Rooney ended up at this 5,000-person stadium on a small college campus, which attracted around half of that to its bleachers on Tuesday.

The game took place at the ironically named 1 Normal Ave. Of course Rooney, a mercurial playing talent and loose cannon in his younger years, is anything but.

5,000-person capacity Montclair State University Stadium Soccer Park hosted the game

5,000-person capacity Montclair State University Stadium Soccer Park hosted the game

And Wayne Rooney (third from left, in shorts) was on the sidelines for the 1-0 DC loss

And Wayne Rooney (third from left, in shorts) was on the sidelines for the 1-0 DC loss

Players warm up near a parking garage, where some fans watched the game from

Players warm up near a parking garage, where some fans watched the game from

Fans are seen in the bleachers before the start of the game on Tuesday night

Fans are seen in the bleachers before the start of the game on Tuesday night

There were multitude examples of the small-town setting for this contest.

The game was played directly next to a parking garage, from which a number of penny-pinching fans took their perch to watch the game.

Those who did purchase a ticket were close enough after entering to hurl obscenities at the visiting DC United players. One chose to do so.

And while there were no chants singing Rooney’s name from an adulating Stretford End, there was a fan spotted wearing his United kit backwards, eager to show off the name.

Plus, Rooney didn’t even talk to reporters after the game – and stayed inside for at least a portion of pregame warmups – almost aware of the lack of pomp compared to his mammoth resume.

Over 500 Man United appearances and 53 England goals later, Rooney – had he chose a particular route to the field – still would have been greeted with a ‘DREAM BIG. AIM HIGH’ sign on the school’s campus.

A wrong turn could have feasibly sent him minutes away to a nearby student dining hall as well. 

Nights like these are likely not what he dreamed of when venturing into management.

Nonetheless, the former United captain is certainly carving his own path in coaching, and having some success doing so.

A Rooney fan named Phil shows off his backwards jersey during the Red Bulls' win

A Rooney fan named Phil shows off his backwards jersey during the Red Bulls’ win

A sign is seen on the campus of Montclair State University near the field

A sign is seen on the campus of Montclair State University near the field

A smattering of fans drummed away all night in the supporters' section

A smattering of fans drummed away all night in the supporters’ section

He earned plaudits at Derby for the side’s performances amid their points deduction, and a DC side that finished last in the Eastern Conference last year is up to eighth place in MLS this year after 11 games.

Without Christian Benteke and Mateusz Klich in the starting up on Tuesday, though, his side failed to register a shot on target as they were eliminated in the fourth round of the tournament.

Just as he spent much of his playing career, maybe we’ll soon see Rooney working in top-flight English football.

Not yet, though, and Tuesday was a stark reminder of the distance he has to go. 





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