Exclusive interview with John Rooney

Brother of Man Utd star set to participate in Combine, SuperDraft

John Rooney, the 20-year-old younger brother of Manchester United's Wayne
Rooney, headlines a list of young international players who will join the
college seniors and Generation adidas signees invited to participate in the
annual MLS player combine in January.

The English midfielder, who trialed with the Seattle Sounders and Portland
Timbers in August, has signed an MLS contract and will be available for
selection by all MLS clubs via the SuperDraft in Baltimore.

MLSsoccer.com caught up with Rooney back in England as he prepares to embark
on his American dream.

MLSsoccer.com: Why MLS? What has struck you about the league
that you want to play in America?

John Rooney: I’ve been watching the league for a  few years
now and it’s getting better and better every year. When I went over there in
August I thoroughly enjoyed it. I went to one of the Seattle games [while on
trial] and the Sounders fans were great. They [Sounders] had great support and
it was a great experience. When I went over there it was fantastic from the
start.

MLSsoccer.com: How did the opportunity with Seattle come
about?  

John Rooney: I played for Macclesfield in the English league
and they offered me a new contract and I turned it down. I was focused on the
chance and the opportunity to go over there [USA] in August and trial with two
teams [Seattle and Portland]. It was the right time in my career to go over
there and to improve on my young career.

MLSsoccer.com: Portland manager John Spencer played in
England. How did you hit it off during your trial?

John Rooney: I didn’t really speak to him. He had only just
got the Portland job when I was there. I really didn’t get to meet him.

MLSsoccer.com: What was your impression from your MLS
trials?

John Rooney: I really enjoyed it. The lifestyle and the
football there [in USA] was great. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I wanted to get
back over there and have a career over there.

MLSsoccer.com: What’s your position on the field and what
are your characteristics?

John Rooney: I trialed at midfield. In Portland I played up
front in one game and I moved to midfield. Midfield is my best position. I’m
probably more of an attacking midfielder. Getting on the ball and making stuff
happens, creating plays.

MLSsoccer.com: How has it been waiting six months without a
club? 

John Rooney: It’s been tough. I really wanted to come over
there [USA] and now I’m just waiting to get myself going and get started.

MLSsoccer.com: How have you stayed fit over the last six
months?

John Rooney: I’ve been training with Tranmere Rovers. Since
I’ve come home from the United States I’ve been training there to keep myself
fit and in shape. I can’t wait to get going.

MLSsoccer.com: Aside from Macclesfield Town, any other
offers that came in for you over the last six months?

John Rooney: There were a few teams sniffing around from the
higher leagues but I wanted to change my career and go to the United States to
build on my own career over there [in USA].

MLSsoccer.com: Are you familiar with the way the SuperDraft
works?

John Rooney: When I first went over [to USA] I started
reading up about the draft and how the league worked. For the last six months
I’ve been looking at the web site every day and reading about how it works. I
have an idea now. I can’t wait to get over there and get started.

MLSsoccer.com: Do you have an idea of the teams which are
interested in you?

John Rooney: When the draft comes. I haven’t spoken to any
teams at the moment. When the combine starts I need to address the coaches that
are watching and take it from there.

MLSsoccer.com: Any special connections to the USA?

John Rooney: That was my first time in the United States [in
the summer]. But I heard a lot of good stuff. My family was on vacation and they
love the United States. When I went over there I was just surprised how good it
was and I couldn’t wait to get back over there [to USA] and play soccer over
there.

MLSsoccer.com: What has your brother [Manchester United's
Wayne Rooney] told you about the United States?

John Rooney: He told me about a few of the teams he played
when they’ve been over on tour. The team [Manchester United] enjoyed it a lot
and he likes it over there [in USA].

MLSsoccer.com: Do you see this as an opportunity to make a
name for yourself outside of England?

John Rooney: That’s why I want to get over there [to USA] --
so it’s just me. And I want to build my own career over there and do my best.
Hopefully I‘ll enjoy it.

MLSsoccer.com: When do you leave England for the United
States?

John Rooney: I fly out on the 2nd of January.
I’ll get used to the time change over there and probably take in a bit of
training before the Combine starts [Jan. 7].

MLSsoccer.com: In the meantime, any special holiday plans in
the Rooney household? 

John Rooney: I’m spending it with the family before I go
away. Looking forward to spending it with the family.

MLSsoccer.com: Any messages for MLS fans before they see you
at the Combine?

John Rooney: Hopefully they like my style of play, what I
bring to the field and the way I am.