Dave Kasper - DC United - general manager
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United GM describes work of Rooney transfer, lays out 2019 plans

When brainstorming who D.C. United would sign as a Designated Player ahead of their move to Audi Field, general manager Dave Kasper had a few boxes he wanted to check.

Kasper wanted a player with game-changing ability, someone who could heighten D.C.'s level of credibility, who had a little swagger. As it were, the club reached out to Wayne Rooney, a Premier League legend who could check all those boxes, and flew him to D.C.

From his first visit to the nation's capital, Kasper explains that Rooney knew that D.C. would be the right move for his career.

"So as a matter of putting together a list of guys we felt could still compete at a very high level, could bring credibility to the club and the city," Kasper told ExtraTime Radio. "You want your DPs to have it all if you can, check all the boxes. ... We saw that last year with [Zlatan Ibrahimovic] and Wayne coming in the league, there are still players who are maybe in the low-to-mid-30s who can play at an extremely high level but has some cachet, have some swagger. And so we had started conversations with Wayne. We flew Wayne over in the spring, and he blew us away. He's sitting down, one of the boys, and he's like, 'I love this place, man. I shouldn't say this with my agent here. This is where I want to be.' It was like that simple."

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D.C. United would storm up the table with Rooney's addition and Audi Field's opening, jumping from the bottom of the Eastern Conference to hosting a Knockout Round playoff game. After the unmitigated success of the second half of last season, Kasper is focused on continuing to climb.

This offseason, the club inked 21-year-old Argentinian starlet Lucas Rodriguez. Kasper has big expectations for the attacker.

"He's a player we tracked over the years," Kasper admitted, dating back to 2015 when he scouted Rodriguez's teammate Lucho Acosta. "It was really the right time to get him, there's always a time to make a deal, this was the right time to make a deal. The kid is dynamic, he's very explosive. He can play wide, he can play as a No. 10. He's got all the tools, he's really hungry. ... We have a lot of high hopes for this kid."

Rodriguez won't be the last player Kasper signs this offseason. He shared his wish list ahead of their season opener.  

"We're looking to make another two or three additions in the back line. Both wide back, center back and some cover on the left. We're looking to maybe add another piece in midfield, a depth piece. And of course we want to replace Darren [Mattocks], he became a backup No. 9 and did a great job for us to start the year, but we need to we need to fill those shoes now."