116street Soccer

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Location: New York, New York

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Know Your Yanks: Brian McBride

You can't talk about American soccer without talking about this guy. Another accomplished, internationally-respected American player, and a true leader of the U.S. team, Brian McBride will be a major key to the Yanks' success at the World Cup.

Brian McBride's significance to American soccer cannot be overstated. He was the first-ever MLS draft pick, he scored game-winners in the 2002 World Cup against both Portugal and Mexico, and he presently carries the flag for American success in the English Premier League. McBride spent his pre-MLS years in the A-League and the Bundesliga, where he saw no action with Vfl Wolfsburg. The formation of MLS in 1996 facilitated a move back to the States, where McBride became the league's inaugural draft selection, going number 1 overall to the Columbus Crew. He played seven years with the Crew, becoming a fan-favorite as well as one of the team's all-time best players.
In the meantime, he went on loan to England twice, first with Preston North End in 2000, and then for a fairly celebrated run with Everton in 2002. Despite Everton's attempts to secure his signature, McBride returned to Columbus for one final season in 2002-03, before finally making a premanent move to the Premiership, signing with Fulham FC in 2004. McBride received two high honors from MLS in 2005, being named to the league's All-Time Best XI, as well as being the recipient of a testimonial match between Columbus and Fulham. McBride has hardly disappointed in England; he has been a consistent starter for Fulham, and was named the team's Player of the Year in 2006.
The six-foot McBride is an excellent target man; his heading ability is on par with many of the world's best. In addition, he is strong and skilled, willing to sacrifice his body to create scoring chances for teammates. His dribbling ability is not particularly strong, but he is able to use his size and positioning skills to maintain control of the ball. He often doubles back to possess the ball, before making a run towards goal. McBride made his U.S. debut in 1993, and scored the team's only goal in the forgettable 1998 World Cup. His 2002 tournament was much more memorable, as he scored two winners during the U.S.' run to the quarterfinals. He will start every match for the USA in 2006, his third World Cup.

Career Highlights:

1993: Makes U.S. Men's National Team debut.

1994: Makes pro debut with the Milwaukee Rampage (USA, A-League). Signs with Vfl Wolfsburg (Germany, 1. Bundesliga).

1996: Joins the Columbus Crew (USA, Major League Soccer) as first overall pick in MLS Inaugural Draft.

1998: Scores only USA goal in World Cup.

2000: Joins Preston North End (England, Division One) on loan from MLS.

2002: Joins Everton FC (England, Premier League) on loan from MLS. Wins Gold Cup with USA. Advances to World Cup quarterfinals with USA, before elimination against Germany.

2004: Joins Fulham FC (England, Premier League) from MLS on a $1 million transfer.

2005: Named to MLS All-Time Best XI. Participates in testimonial match between Columbus and Fulham.

2006: Named Fulham FC Player of the Year.


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