It’s been a week since the Fire saw their turnaround 2012 season end in the Eastern Conference Knockout stage.
As a result, last Thursday morning the club’s technical staff huddled to begin making plans for 2013. Chief among them was ensuring defender Arne Friedrich would be manning the back line once again next season.
The Fire ended early speculation Wednesday morning by announcing that the two-time German World Cup veteran will be around another season.Mission accomplished.
“I am very happy that everything went well,” Friedrich told Chicago-Fire.com Wednesday morning. “Getting things done early was one of my conditions. Whether it was re-signing or not I wanted to make plans with my family. I am excited to be here for one more year and am thankful for the time I have already spent here.”
“We have a wonderful club and the best conditions in America. In my eyes there is a good chance that we can reach the next level next season. We made it to the playoffs this year but I feel that more is possible. We have super fans, great coaches and great trainers. This is why I chose to extend my contract.”
Friedrich joined the Fire just prior to the team’s first match of the season on March 17 at Montreal and made his debut, stepping in for the injured Cory Gibbs in a weather-shortened 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo on April 15.
Since then, Friedrich anchored the Fire back line in 23 games, scoring one goal en route to earning the club’s Defender of the Year award, one that he is proud of but credits to the work of the team.
“I believe defense is a team effort. I got so much help form the other guys since the day I got here. They all tried to support me and make me feel comfortable. As a team we did great, it wasn’t just me. We had a good season but I hope next season will be even better.”
Friedrich is someone that has done well to take in as much as Chicago as he could since March, going to Bears, Blackhawks and Cubs games while also taking in many a fine Windy City eatery. Tuesday night was no different as the Fire defender made his way to McCormick Place to witness history and do some commentating from President Obama’s victory rally for German news outlet A.R.D.
“I was really happy that President Obama got re-elected and the fact that I had a chance to be in the convention center for the celebration. It was unbelievable, I can’t describe it. To hear the speech and see him live within 100 yards was crazy. I have a great time and many good experiences here and it marked the end of my first wonderful year in Chicago.”
With 2013 looking to be his last season, when Friedrich thinks of goals, an MLS Cup win and a chance to meet the President is at the top of the list.
“I want to be able to shake his hand one day and if we win the MLS Cup next season it would be possible. We have a long way to go and we will push even hard next season to accomplish all goals.”