A veteran of two World Cups with one of the world's premier national teams doesn't often show up on the radar screens of MLS coaches and general managers, so the Chicago Fire moved quickly when German international defender Arne Friedrich expressed an interest in MLS.
He began training with the Fire Tuesday, about two weeks after his acquisition was announced. “My first impression here about the team is it’s a very good team,” Friedrich, 32, said. “It’s very good people. I need to know each person, but I guess it’s going to be a good season for us.”
A lunch with Fire midfielder and fellow German Bundesliga veteran Pavel Pardo helped convince Friedrich, who has played 82 times for Germany and spent most of his career with Hertha Berlin, that a move to MLS made sense. He also insists he'll be fit and ready to play in a few weeks; Wolfsburg released Friedrich in September, citing back problems and other injuries that had limited his performances. Coach Frank Klopas has not set a timetable for his Fire debut.
“I need a little time. This is what I told the coach,” Friedrich said.