Davis: McBride call-up would have proven nothing
More than two-thirds of MLSsoccer.com voters want Brian
McBride to earn one final cap with the United States takes on Poland in Chicago
on October 9.
It's a nice sentiment, but it's misplaced.
The three-time World Cup veteran deserves an epic
celebration. Bring out the stars. Set off enough fireworks to make the
Aris-PAOK display look like sparklers on a birthday cake. Make sure they can
see it in Milwaukee where he began his glorious career and Columbus, where he
cemented his MLS legacy. I don't know if they can light up the sky at Fulham,
but they can darn well try.
But leave McBride in a Chicago Fire uniform.
What would McBride's appearance in a Stars-and-Stripes
uniform accomplish? He'd get his 97th cap (not a milestone). He could score
his 31st goal (he'd need four tallies to tie Eric Wynalda for second
all-time). He'd get a hell of an ovation (that would happen regardless).
The negative consequences are obvious. The 38-year-old
could get hurt. He could look out of his depth. He'd certainly be a distraction
from the actual game, something the ultimate team player would abhor.
But more than that, the U.S. team has moved on since he
retired in 2006, and McBride himself has been one of the more vocal proponents
of this fact.
While his name jumps into the conversation whenever the new crop
of American strikers struggles (which is to say frequently), the Illinois-born
player hasn't pushed to return to the ranks of international soccer. If
anything, he's attempted to extinguish the flames of possibility. McBride is
content to play out his days for the Fire; he knows his day on the national
team has come and gone. He retired on his own terms. We should respect his
McBride's legacy as a star of American soccer, a
wonderful role model, and a better human being is secure. He deserves to be
feted with a massive ceremony at Soldier Field. But donning the Red-White-and-Blue he wore so honorably one more time proves nothing. After all, he really
has nothing left to prove.