McBride set the standard for U.S. players
When Brian McBride announced last week that this year would be his last as a professional soccer player, the news came as a bit of a shock.
Not because it isn’t the right time. His diminishing role with the Chicago Fire makes it clear that the time is right for the 38-year-old McBride to call it a career.
Perhaps the saddest aspect of McBride’s career is how it is coming to an end. His time with the Chicago Fire since returning to MLS from Fulham has not been the success so many had hoped for when he arrived in 2008. He did help the Fire reach a pair of Eastern Conference finals, and scored his share of goals, but his final MLS season has seen him reduced to reserve status on a Chicago team that looks destined to miss the playoffs.
Ultimately, McBride is facing the reality that hits every player at some point. Time waits for no player. If anything, the fact that he has been able to play this long given his style, and the punishment he has endured, is a testament to his fortitude.
At this point, what we can hope for is that McBride is honored the way he deserves to be honored. With the U.S. national team set to play in Chicago in October, just a day after the Fire plays the Columbus Crew (the club McBride spent a large part of his MLS career with), there is an opportunity for a Brian McBride weekend. Both the Fire and U.S. Soccer need to take the opportunity to honor a player who has meant so much to the sport in this country.
McBride deserves it, and fans from Fulham to Columbus, Everton to Chicago, would agree. McBride deserves an honorable send-off because there was never an American player like him before, and there may never be one like him again.
Ives Galarcep is a senior writer for FoxSoccer.com covering the U.S. national team and Major League Soccer.