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Brian McBride: 'Looking forward to the next chapter'
by Ridge Mahoney, October 1st, 2010 12:35AM
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TAGS:  chicago fire, men's national team, mls


[INTERVIEW] Since he retired from the national team in 2006, U.S. fans have hoped for another forward with the ability and attitude of Brian McBride, who is ending his competitive career after this MLS season. The 38-year-old, who is in his third season with the Chicago Fire since returning to MLS after a successful EPL stint with Fulham, discusses his present, past and future ...

SOCCER AMERICA: How long have you been wrestling with the decision to retire?
There wasn’t any wrestling, really. There was a lot of talk between my wife and I last year, and I had a talk with the Fire. They wanted to start doing stuff for the players in a sense that there really wasn’t a line of communication between the players and management. That excited me, and it’s really been good. The management side, Javier [Leon] and Andrew [Hauptman], really made a commitment to do things for the players and their families.

After that, it was looking forward to the season, going to preseason, and trying to get things ready to go further this year. Unfortunately, that hasn’t worked out, but that’s sports. It’s never going to be easy.

SA: Hasn’t been particularly hard for you, given all the injuries and health issues you’ve gone through?
Sure, but everybody does.

SA: Not everybody goes through blood clots and enough facial fractures and wounds to stock a season of Grey’s Anatomy.
Ah, that’s nothing.

SA: Oh, come on. …
It’s not, really, and it has nothing to do with this decision, to be honest. This is different. When my body started feeling the way it was feeling and the recovery times weren’t as quick, I was looking forward to the next chapter.

SA: I know you had a training session at noon yesterday, the day before the game,
Yesterday was short. The day before was, well, it’s different all the time. You always enjoy being on the field with your teammates, but it’s a long trip. I’ll be away from my family for a week [the Fire plays at Dallas Saturday]. These are things you have to do, so you don’t do it begrudgingly. When you weigh everything, there comes a time where you have to focus on something else.

SA: You’ve played for the national team in three World Cups, started your MLS career in Columbus and will finish near your home in Chicago, and had several strong seasons in England. Is there one accomplishment or characteristic of your career you are especially proud of?
I haven’t really reflected on my career. We’ve got, what, five games now? After that I’ll probably reflect a little bit more. Right now my focus is forward and not what’s behind me.

SA: The team changed coaches during the offseason but once again, the team has had trouble winning at home, and this win [3-0 at San Jose Sept. 29] broke a seven-game winless streak.
We’ve been having trouble everywhere, consistency, you know. This is a huge win and we pretty much have to win every game and hope for other teams not to win. It’s a lot of ifs but that’s what you’ve got to focus on. We’ve put ourselves into this situation and we aren’t in control of it, but what we can do is keep focus and show some integrity and wherewithal and do all we can.

SA: Freddie Ljungberg had a great game with a goal and two assists. What has his arrival done for the Fire?
He’s been a great player throughout his career and he’s been that for us. He was like a breath of fresh air and he came at a time when we needed a kick. He’s a player who can change the game, you saw that tonight, not only with what he can do technically but how he sees the field.

SA: Did you know him well before he became a teammate?
Not really. I saw him once here in MLS at an event. Other than that it was just shaking hands after the game. I didn’t know him all that well.

It’s a new situation throughout, for him, for us. Finding that consistency of not only quality but sometimes you just have to grind out results.

SA: So with all that money stashed away will you be living a life of leisure in retirement?
No. I wish. Maybe a few more years in Europe and I could have done that. I’ve got a rough business plan for some attacking soccer camps, about 20 kids, I’d be very hands-on and incorporate the whole aspect of attacking soccer. It’s not an LLC yet or anything like that but a good place for me to be.

I’m open to other things. I’m not naïve enough to think that’s going to be it. I’m hoping to get some other things, but I want to be home on the weekends. I want to see my kids doing their activities. I want to go out to dinner with my wife on a Saturday night, and a Friday night for that matter. Those are the things you get to look forward to, but it’s not to say I didn’t enjoy playing and don’t still enjoy it.

SA: Is your project something that U.S. Soccer might be interested in?
I don’t know. I talked to Claud [Claudio Reyna, U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director] for a split-second when I retired [from the national team] and we’re going to talk sometime around our game on the 10th. I haven’t heard from any side like that and I’m not really focusing on it right now to the point I’m thinking about a business, because I have to be focusing on what I’m doing here with the Fire.

SA: Like winning. ...
That’s the only way we’re going to get it done.

  1. Robert Kiernan
    commented on: October 1, 2010 at 11:44 a.m.
    Well if Bob Bradley and the fools over at Soccer House don't understand that just because the guy retired from the National Team doesn't mean he shouldn't be called in one last time for this friendly in Chicago against Poland, well then they have no sense of history or the dramatic...this isn't a win it at all costs type of situation, and looking at the roster Bradley has announced for the Poland match...there are only 18 players listed including both GK'ers... there are only three forwards listed... so clearly there IS space to include McBride for a final cup of coffee... this IS the way most real soccer paying nations treat their biggest stars, and considering that the Fire are NOT going to make the post season...this would be a nice way to let the fans give the man one last hurrah ... besides if you want to MARKET your sport, this is simply a no think this wouldn't make a sports center segment? Who was the best Striker we had over the last two decades?... Come on Bob, show you've got some sense of history, this match is in his home town...what are you afraid of, that the old man will look better than Eddie Johnson? Give McBride the Heroes send off he deserves! (ICE)
  1. John Carlisle
    commented on: October 1, 2010 at 1 p.m.
    I second that motion!
  1. Sue Gier
    commented on: October 1, 2010 at 1:36 p.m.
    Nice interview. Classy guy. Accomplished player. I wish him success in passing it forward.
  1. Bret Newman
    commented on: October 2, 2010 at 4:07 a.m.
    Bob showing some history isn't the right word, but you got the right idea. How about Bob showing some respect and honor to one of the greatest players to ever put on a US soccer jersey, and the classiest. If they can do it for Dooley, they better do it for McBride. But it wouldn't surprise me if McBride turns him down, because he would be taking a young players spot. That's just the guy McBride is.
  1. George Hoyt
    commented on: October 2, 2010 at 5:21 a.m.
    I'll second Bret's sentiment. It would be great to see Brian make one more curtain call, but I doubt he'd take it. I've followed Brian since he was in high school. Even then, he had his head in a pretty good place. It's great to see him close this chapter of his carreer in style.

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