The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced today that Fire forward Brian McBride will retire at the end of the 2010 season. The MLS All-Time Best XI forward and three-time U.S. World Cup star will end his illustrious 17-year playing career following the Fire’s 2010 season. McBride, the number one selection in the 1996 MLS inaugural player draft, has appeared in 211 games, scoring 78 goals and adding 51 assists over the course of his 11-year MLS career with the Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew. One of the most decorated players in United States soccer history, the renowned striker appeared in three FIFA World Cups, scoring 30 goals in 95 appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team from 1993-2006.
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McBride returned to Chicago to play for his hometown club July 30, 2008, following a celebrated four and half year stint with English Premier League side Fulham FC. While donning the Fire shirt, the Arlington Heights, IL product scored 16 goals in 49 appearances helping the Fire to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals.
“Brian’s retirement is a bittersweet moment for the Fire, Major League Soccer and soccer fans around the world. His talent and contributions to U.S. soccer in particular are incredibly vast and he will most deservedly be celebrated as one of soccer’s greatest,” said Andrew Hauptman, Chicago Fire owner. “Brian is a consummate professional on- and off-the-field and has tremendous passion and heart. I have great respect for him and his decision to retire, which no doubt was not an easy one. He will always have a home here at the Chicago Fire and be part of the Fire family.”
McBride, one of the defining figures in the history of the U.S. Men’s National Team, appeared in three FIFA World Cups (1998, 2002, 2006) and ranks third all-time in goals scored (30) behind Eric Wynalda (34) and Landon Donovan (45). In the 2002 World Cup, the USA’s most successful World Cup experience, McBride provided game winning goals for the USA to defeat Portugal and Mexico and advance to the quarterfinals. McBride sits behind Bert Patenaude and Donovan for the most World Cup goals for an American with three. McBride capped his international career by captaining the 2008 U.S. Olympic team at the Beijing Games, as one of the three “overage” players permitted to the Olympic squad.
While with Fulham from 2004-2008, McBride tallied 40 goals in 153 appearances, starting 111 games, and was handed Fulham’s captaincy in 2007.The target forward was Fulham’s top scorer in their 2006-07 campaign notching 12 goals, while helping the London-based club to retain their Premier League status. The famed forward and fan favorite won the club’s Player of the Year Award in 2007 and 2008 and became such an admired figure during his tenure in London that Fulham renamed a bar inside Craven Cottage “McBride’s” in June of 2009.
“Brian is one of the cornerstones of American soccer. Since joining the Fire, and returning to Chicago, he has shown the characteristics that have made him a success on every level of soccer in this country,” said Fire Technical Director Frank Klopas. “He is a consummate professional and embodies everything that is good in the game. His leadership, everlasting commitment and work ethic on the field are parallel to his impact off of it. We wish Brian and his family the best of luck as he takes this next step in life.”
The 38-year-old indelibly made his mark on MLS when he returned from German club VfL Wolfsburg to become the first overall selection by the Columbus Crew in the 1996 MLS inaugural player draft. In the eight years he played for the Crew, McBride racked-up 62 goals, tied for the club record with Jeff Cunningham, and added 45 assists in 161 league games, leading the Crew to the 2002 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. While with the Crew, McBride was selected to eight MLS All-Star Games, appearing in seven. Before his move to England in 2005, the franchise forward was named to the MLS All-Time Best XI.
Over the course of his storied career, the Buffalo Grove High School and St. Louis University All-American has participated in a number of off the field initiatives to help support local communities and children in need. McBride served as the national spokesperson for St. Jude Hospital and the Pepsi Refresh Project, supported Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and served as the first spokesperson of the Central Ohio Diabetes Association.