Wayne Rooney has officially been appointed head coach of Birmingham City. The former Manchester United star recently parted ways with D.C. United at the end of the current Major League Soccer season. The move by Birmingham helps continue an American connection at the club.

The Championship side was previously purchased by United States-based Shelby Companies Limited earlier this summer. American Tom Wagner, the co-founder of Shelby, then became the club’s co-owner and chairman of the board. Along with Wagner, former NFL superstar Tom Brady is also a minority investor in the club.

Birmingham’s board of directors is filled with Americans

Much of the club’s current board of directors are also American as well. This list includes film producer Matt Alvarez, as well as Andrew Shanahan and Kyle Kneisly. Alvarez most notably helped produce Straight Outta Compton and was previously linked with forming an MLS team in Sacramento. Shanahan and Kneisly are long-time business partners with Wagner.

Birmingham City has also had multiple Americans play for the team as well. Current occasional USMNT defender Auston Trusty previously spent the 2022/23 season on loan at the club from Arsenal. Birmingham voted Trusty as the team’s Player of the Season during his lone campaign with the side. Former USMNT star Jonathan Spector also featured for the Blues from 2011 to 2017.

Birmingham City waited to hire Rooney to avoid paying DC United

The Championship side had links with Rooney for some time. However, reports out of England suggest that Birmingham waited for the former star to officially leave D.C. United so they wouldn’t have to pay compensation to the MLS club. The Blues are still dealing with economic hardship from a former financial crisis.

Wagner spoke on the importance of hiring Rooney on Wednesday. “Wayne is a born winner. We believe, with the support of his coaching staff, the club, and our supporters, he will take Blues forward on the next stage of our journey,” proclaimed Wagner. “His playing philosophy will help to realize the ambitions we have set for Birmingham City.”

Although things may not have gone to plan in the United States, Rooney gained significant experience with the MLS team. He managed 53 total matches with D.C. in 15 months on the job. The move to Birmingham could also be seen as a stepping stone to a Premier League club. Assuming he does well with his new team, top-flight teams could very well come calling for Rooney.