After impressing in the recent MLS trials, 20-year-old Rooney was selected by the Red Bulls as the seventh choice in the second round of the MLS Super Draft, which allows teams to take their pick of college talent and a handful of young foreign players.
'I never expected to be going to the New York Red Bulls. It's a dream come true for me,' said Rooney, who will begin the new season on March 19 under the guidance of Red Bulls manager Hans Backe, Sven-Goran Eriksson's former assistant at Manchester City.
Rooney will also link up with former Arsenal star Thierry Henry, who joined the Red Bulls last summer, as well as ex-Barcelona defender Rafa Marquez.
'They're probably one of the more well-known MLS teams in England,' continued Rooney. 'The league's a great league, everyone knows the league, and the Red Bulls are such a big club. I never had a clue they would pick me.'
Start spreading the news: John Rooney has signed for New York Red Bulls
Rooney, who trained with Seattle and Portland last summer, came through the youth ranks at Everton, before departing for League Two Macclesfield, where he made 46 appearances between 2008 and 2010.
'We know what it's like to play in the lower divisions in England,' Red Bulls general manager and sporting director Erik Soler said. 'We think we can develop him.
'It can't be easy for anybody to have a big brother like that with all the expectations. The fact that he chose to go and show himself off, we think it tells a little about the player.
'We don't know him that well, but if things run a little bit in the family it might be surprisingly good for everybody. We liked what we saw. It's not a huge risk.'
Added Rooney: 'That's the whole idea of me coming out here. I just want to build on my own career. There were some teams that took a look at me in England but I came over and trained with Seattle and Portland in August. It was just a great experience. I'm looking forward to getting started.'
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Explore more:People: Wayne Rooney, Sven Goran Eriksson, Thierry Henry Places: Seattle, Barcelona, United Kingdom