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Wayne Rooney's second era at D.C. United -- this time as head coach -- came to an end Saturday as he and the club decided to mutually part ways following their elimination from playoff contention, the club announced. Despite defeating New York City FC 2-0, the team's path towards the playoff was officially closed with other results around the league. 

Rooney has been head coach of the club since July of 2022 after also playing for the team from 2018 to 2019 prior to becoming a player coach and then manager of Derby County. While Rooney's contract only went through this season, there was an option for a mutual extension. 

It has been a tumultuous season for the black and red with forward Taxiarchis Fountas contract terminated after the league found allegations that he used a racial slur towards a teammate as "credible." A staff member also was terminated for using a discriminatory gesture in a team photo. While these aren't things under Rooney's control, they do paint a picture of the situation that he was in in Washington D.C.

"We have spoken with Wayne and agreed it is best for us to part ways at this time. This decision creates the avenue for our next General Manager to have the full opportunity to impart a new philosophy and structure onto our sporting operations, which begins with the critical identification of a head coach who will best align with this," said Jason Levien CEO and co-chairman of D.C. United in a club statement. "We are grateful to Wayne Rooney for all he has done for our club and for soccer in the nation's capital, first as a D.C. United player and captain and most recently as our coach. He remains an important part of the D.C. United family and a valued and cherished friend." 

After this season, despite their turnaround in the second half to push for a playoff place behind the strong form of Christian Benteke, D.C. United are planning to move in a different direction after missing playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. The Black and Red have now had three different head coaches including interim managers since Ben Olsen's departure in 2020.