Having recently re-upped as U.S. Men’s National Team coach, former Fire boss Bob Bradley paid a visit to the Toyota Park press box ahead of the club’s scoreless draw with Toronto FC Wednesday night.
The press corps assembled for the night’s match gathered for about 20 minutes as the national team boss fielded candid questions ranging from the U.S. World Cup bid, to the Olympic team and rebuilding the senior side for the 2014 World Cup.
Bradley answered queries of a local nature, first discussing former Fire winger DaMarcus Beasley’s recent move to German Bundesliga side Hannover 96 . Having played sparingly last season with Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers, Bradley believes the move was key for keeping his name in the conversation for the 2014 cycle.
“This is an important move for DaMarcus because clearly his stretch at Rangers didn’t end well. He’s at that moment in his career where he’s got to find the right club and continue to work very hard. I think any comments about his future with the national team are going to hinge on his ability now at Hannover now to reestablish himself. [Looking at 2014] Like we would do with all players we then step back, assess and make decisions going forward.”
The attention then shifted to the recently announced retirement of three-time U.S. World Cup veteran Brian McBride, effective at the end of the 2010 MLS season. Bradley paid tribute to the veteran of 95 U.S. international appearances, noting his deep contributions to American soccer over his 16-year professional career.
“Brian has been such an important player for the U.S. -- a player who’s competitiveness, attitude on the field, will to win I think have really set a great standard. As a guy over the years I would say his teammates have always looked up to him – coaches that have had a chance to work with him, I would put myself in this category – you wish all players would have that mentality. He’s just been a great example and his career has been very special.”
Prior to Bradley’s selection of the 2010 U.S. World Cup roster, speculation spun that the national team boss should call the veteran McBride out of international retirement, as many American attacking options failed to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
In the end, the call-up never occurred but Bradley left open the possibility of a testimonial cap for the Fire striker in front of his hometown crowd when the U.S. takes on Poland October 9 at Soldier Field.
“I would need more time to think that through. We’ve had discussions along the way and Brian has again -- to show you what kind of guy he is, even when we’ve had discussions after he had announced his international retirement – his respect for our team, his respect for the other players is so high that he’s not typically someone who’s interested in those kind of things. He’s always made decisions based upon an all-around respect of what it means to play for his national team and I just think that speaks to his character."
Former U.S. captain Thomas Dooley was the last player to receive a testimonial call-up from the U.S. Soccer Federation, appearing in the United States' 2-1 win over Chile on February 21, 1999 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
Time will tell, but as a long-time admirer of Brian McBride's career and accomplishments, there are few players more deserving of such an honor. Here's hoping to it happening...
The Chicago Fire are offering a Two-Pack ticket deal giving you entry to October 9th’s U.S/Poland clash at Soldier Field as well as a select 2010 regular season game at Toyota Park! Packages begin at $40! Call (888) MLS-FIRE to purchase!
Jeff Crandall is the Team Writer for the Chicago Fire. Follow him on Twitter @JefeCrandall.