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Wayne Rooney made D.C. United and MLS move because time was right

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Wayne Rooney discusses D.C. United move with ESPN FC (3:46)

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop sits down with Wayne Rooney to discuss the English great's move to MLS, how he can help D.C. United get back on top and more. (3:46)

Wayne Rooney said he made the decision to join Major League Soccer club D.C. United this summer because the time was right for him and his family.

Rooney, 32, completed his move to D.C. United on June 28 -- although he can't officially sign until the MLS transfer window re-opens on July 9 -- and was introduced to the media on Monday

Asked about the thinking behind his move to play in the U.S. and Canada top flight, Rooney said: "I think when I looked at it, it was the right time to come to MLS. D.C. approached us, and I looked at it and...the new stadium, about the new training ground. I looked up the team. I watched a few games and how the team play.

"Obviously, the team needs to improve. That's first of all. A group of young players who, maybe, with a bit of help, can push on and do better. It just felt like [it was] the right time. I come and I had a look around earlier. I liked it.

"I like the vision somewhere I could bring my wife and children to live and go to school. Everything fit with the team...Everything seemed to fit, so that's why I made the decision to come."

Ben Olsen's team are in last place in MLS' Eastern Conference and have the lowest points total in the league with 10 this season. And Rooney hopes his arrival -- along with a few more additions -- can help the four-time MLS Cup winners return to past glory.

"I think the club are making big strides to get the team back [to the top]," Rooney said. "When I spoke to the owners, they know they've had a tough few years and the league is moving on; the league is getting better. They had to do something to not fall too far behind.

"Hopefully there will be a few new players coming in; not just myself. There will be a few more players coming in trying to help the team, as well. We can try to build on the players we bring in, including myself, and hopefully I can have a big impact on the team, both on the pitch or at the training ground trying to help the younger guys."

The record goalscorer for both England and Manchester United said he didn't talk to former international teammates like Frank Lampard or Steven Gerrard about life in MLS, but said he knew to expect a major challenge.

"Obviously, I know [MLS is] a lot different. I know there's a lot of travelling," Rooney said. "I know it's a very physical league. I've watched a lot of games over the last few months. A lot of the games seem to be not so much tactically -- not all tactics the way the Premier League is. [It's] more end-to-end, a bit like a basketball game, which, of course, is challenging.

"I'm ready to come in, and obviously I need to train hard over the next week, 10 days to get ready for the first game on [July] 14th. Of course, I would have liked a bit more time to be able to do that, but it is what it is. I have to deal with the next week, 10 days to get in the best physical shape I can be in.

"I'm sure after the first game I'll have a few more weeks to progress on in the games and training."

Acquiring Rooney, who signed a three-and-a-half year contract worth roughly $13 million, according to the Washington Post, is a move ownership hopes will signal to fans a new level of investment.

"Our fans have I think had a healthy dose of skepticism about the organization," co-owner and managing partner Jason Levien said. "And there's a whole new generation of folks who live in D.C. who don't remember the '90s and the early 2000s when we were winning championships. And this time it's for them."

United has a home-heavy schedule coming up that coincides of the opening of the all-new Audi Field and at least three matches in hand on every other team in the East. The team is also much improved offensively, scoring 21 goals in 13 matches.

"I think our expected points based on our analytics and our data is we should be somewhere around 16 points at the moment," D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper said. "So we have dropped points along the way. We're at 10. It is what it is. But we play 15 of our last 20 games at home."

Rooney is expected to make his debut in a home match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 14.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.