Bocanegra is currently enjoying a first-place start to the season with St. Etienne of the French Ligue 1

Happy homecoming

It has been seven years since Carlos Bocanegra left the Fire to try his hand at European soccer, yet he maintains a strong affection for both Chicago and his former team.

The 31-year-old defender visits his one-time professional home this week, leading the U.S. men's national team in a friendly against Poland on Saturday at Soldier Field.

"It's going to be very cool to play in front of the Fire fans again," said Bocanegra, reached via e-mail on Saturday from France, where his Saint-Etienne team prepared to host Marseilles.

"I love the city and everything about it. I have a lot of memories of playing at Soldier Field with the Fire ... (and) I'm very excited about coming back."

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