Transfer Tracker

Official: DC United sign ex-Derby County midfielder Ravel Morrison


UPDATE, July 21 – D.C. United have signed Jamaican international midfielder Ravel Morrison through the 2023 MLS season with an option in 2024, the club announced Thursday. The free move was completed using Target Allocation Money (TAM).

Morrison, 29, spent last season playing under new D.C. United head coach Wayne Rooney at Derby County in the English Championship. With the Rams, he recorded five goals and four assists in 38 appearances across all competitions.

“Wayne worked closely with Ravel during his time as manager of Derby County,” president of soccer operations Dave Kasper said in a release. “Ravel is an incredible talent and his ability to create and score goals is impressive. He has played at the highest levels during his career and his vision, creativity and ability on the ball will be a huge asset for us."

D.C. are the 13th club of Morrison's career after he came up through Manchester United's youth system during Rooney's own career with the Red Devils. Morrison is D.C.'s first international signing during the Rooney era (although the club recently traded for striker Miguel Berry and traded away wingback Julian Gressel).

The Black-and-Red still have two open Designated Player spots as the Secondary Transfer Window continues through Aug. 4.

“Ravel is a dynamic and exciting player who has experience performing at the elite levels in Europe and Mexico,” general manager Lucy Rushton said in a release. “He is a top-class midfielder with excellent technical ability and positional versatility. His game intelligence and all-around attacking ability allow him to fit perfectly in the system and style that Wayne wants to play. We look forward to integrating him with the roster and having him contribute on the field as soon as possible.”

ORIGINAL, July 15 – The anticipated transfer influx under new D.C. United head coach Wayne Rooney may already be bearing fruit via Jamaican international midfielder Ravel Morrison, according to The Washington Post’s Steven Goff.

Morrison, a 29-year-old free agent, most recently played under Rooney at Derby County. Goff notes he’d receive a Targeted Allocation Money contract. The Black-and-Red would still have two Designated Player spots open alongside 2022 MLS All-Star forward Taxi Fountas.

Primarily a central midfielder, Morrison would bolster a D.C. positional group that’s led by U22 Initiative signing Chris Durkin (homegrown back from Belgium) and Russell Canouse, plus has promising young homegrown Moses Nyeman.

Morrison was a key figure in Derby County’s 2021-22 season that ended with relegation from the Championship (second tier) to League One (third tier) following a 21-point deduction amid the club entering financial administration. Nonetheless, he had five goals and four assists across 38 all-competition games, which totaled nearly 2,500 minutes.

Morrison is remarkably well-traveled after coming through Manchester United’s youth system when Rooney was a star center forward for the storied club, though he made just three cup appearances for the Premier League side before departing. Aside from numerous English clubs, he’s played everywhere from Italy (Lazio) and Mexico (Atlas) to Sweden (Östersunds) and Holland (ADO Den Haag).

A youth international player for England, Morrison opted for Jamaica at the senior level. He’s scored twice across 13 caps for the Reggae Boyz, and played a central role in the Concacaf nation’s unsuccessful qualification bid to the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

D.C. United, through 18 of 34 regular-season matches, sit bottom of the league and Eastern Conference tables (5W-10L-3D record; 18 points). Rooney was officially hired on Tuesday, but his coaching debut awaits a work visa approval.

The MLS Secondary Transfer Window opened July 7 and extends through Aug. 4.