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Chicago to welcome 'face of American soccer'

The Chicago Fire is eager to incorporate Brian McBride into its lineup when he returns from the Olympics in China, where the 36-year-old is on of the three overage "wild-card" players on the U.S. U-23 squad.

"He's a winner, and people will always respect that," said Fire assistant coach Chris Armas, McBride's teammate on the U.S. national team from 1998 to 2006. "His work ethic, his skill and his leadership abilities are all amazing. And I dare you to name a better forward the U.S. has ever produced."

McBride, who has seven plates in his face to combat repeatedly shattered cheekbones, is famous for his brave play upfront. One example came during the USA's 1-1 tie with Italy at the 2006 World Cup, when McBride left the field to get a gash under his left eye stitched.

"Not many guys could go back in that game and then play the full 90 minutes," then U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. "Around the 75th minute, Brian was shot, we were a man down and we knew we didn't have much chance of winning. But we knew if we took Brian out, we had a very good chance of losing. That's how much I valued Brian McBride."

Read the whole story at Chicago Sun-Times »

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