Word on the street is that Brian McBride will announce his retirement today after a legendary playing career that saw him excel in MLS with Columbus and Chicago, at Fulham as part of the Fulhamerica era, and with the US National Team over the course of three World Cup cycles.
For US National Team fans particularly, McBride's legend is unassailable. He's given us more than a few iconic images to fill up the American history books: from the exuberant joyous celebration after his goal against Portugal in 2002 to his blood-soaked visage of determined resolution after Daniele De Rossi's cheap elbow. McBride simply knew how to score, a talent for which we have a supreme appreciation in this era of the impotent American striker; it says something of the reverence we have for McBride that some very astute observers were suggesting he be called on to contribute at this last World Cup.
At Fulham, McBride gave American players both a role model for Premier League success and a ambassador, via his tireless and effective play, in the original home of the game. He was hardly a massive Premier League star, but he was a favorite of the Craven Cottage faithful and made himself a legend there through timely goals and maximum effort. No one could ever claim Brian McBride didn't give everything he had every time he stepped on the field.
Bleed for us, and you're a legend. Bleed for us, play with supreme class and score goal, well, that's a step above. Not only is McBride an American legend, a Fulham legend, a Crew legend, but he's in the pantheon of most beloved players in each and every case. McBride was a very good player who used his skill set to its full advantage. He was a menace in the air, finished with aplomb and let nothing stop him. As a fan, it's almost impossible not to like him.
It seems, through seeing him play this year, that McBride is choosing the right time to hang it up. At 38, his legs won't allow him to be where he wants to be, and his effectiveness has waned. After a two year swan song back in MLS and with his hometown club, McBride's career will end after sixteen years as a professional, goals scored on three continents, and a place among the all-time greats in the hearts of fans from here to London.
In Soccer City, USA, an imaginary place I just made up because the "Mount Rushmore" theme is played out, McBride has a statue that, like his presence on the field, dwarfs all others.
You can watch McBride's retirement announcement through the Fire website at 1 ET/12 CT.