Without offering specifics, General Manager Dave Kasper said Wednesday that United is looking at “an international destination” for part of training camp and that the organization is still finalizing plans. People familiar with the team’s plans said Saturday that Asia and the Middle East are in the mix.
The Insider reported in July that promoters in China had approached United about a potential tour this winter, centered around Rooney, the former Manchester United and English national team superstar who joined D.C. this past summer and inspired a surge from last place to the playoffs.
Beyond his world-class on-field talents, Rooney was brought to Washington on a multimillion dollar salary for his marketing power. With the striker on the roster, United has enjoyed global brand-building and visibility, particularly in Europe.
Soccer is wildly popular throughout Asia and the Middle East, even if the regions do not produce many high-quality players and teams. Undoubtedly, Rooney and United would draw big crowds for appearances, open training sessions and friendlies.
With English icon David Beckham employed between 2007 and 2012, the Los Angeles Galaxy visited China, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia.
United typically conducts training camp at warm-weather U.S. locations, such as Florida’s west coast, Orlando, Austin and Charleston, S.C.
On occasion, the team has gone abroad for preseason workouts and matches: Japan and Hong Kong in 1997; Bermuda in 1999; and Spain in 2006. Also, Concacaf competitions have taken United to Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean early in the year.
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