TUKWILA, Wash. – Rooney may be coming to Major League Soccer! No, not that one. But close.
A number of new faces dotted the training pitch for Tuesday’s practice, but by far the most notable was John Rooney, younger brother of Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.
The 19-year-old trained with the Sounders and played in an 11-v-11 scrimmage with a number of the other trialists. According to his rep, the attacking midfielder will continue his trial in Seattle through Friday, at which point he will head south for another trial with the Portland Timbers.
Rooney himself was not available to the media on Tuesday, but Seattle coach Sigi Schmid addressed his presence.
“He's here for us to have a look at him,” Schmid said. “He's on trial, we want to see where he's at and what he's like as a player.
“He's a player that was brought to our attention and so it seemed like this was a good week because we have a week of training to be able to look at him, and some other guys as well."
According to Seattle GM Adrian Hanauer, even if Rooney performs well in the trial, the Sounders will not be able to sign him directly. Instead, it’s likely that if the league wants to sign Rooney to a contract, he would be available in the next MLS SuperDraft or possibly through a lottery.
Schmid compared Rooney’s situation to that of Arturo Alvarez, who completed week-long trials with three MLS teams before being signed by MLS. Alvarez was subsequently selected with the 13th pick in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. Should Rooney’s trials prove fruitful, the 19-year-old might find himself in a similar situation.
Rooney last played for Macclesfield Town in England’s League Two. He recently completed a trial at Huddersfield Town in July, but was not offered a contract.