After months of speculation and a good solid week of haggling between the Chicago Fire and Toronto FC, American soccer legend Brian McBride is coming home.
McBride, who spent 8 years playing for the Columbus Crew, returned on a free transfer after Toronto agreed to trade his rights to the Fire for striker Chad Barrett and Chicago's first round pick in the MLS SuperDraft next season, along with future considerations (read: cash).
McBride had previously played for and captained Fulham FC in the English Premier League, and even though he missed most of the last season due to a knee injury, his late season return was the impetus for Fulham to win four of their last five games and narrowly miss getting relegated (for the umpteenth time).
It's not often that a seven time MLS All-Star becomes available, especially when he's showing incredible interest in his hometown team. Chicago snapped him up for a relatively cheap fee and will more than make their money's worth in admissions and merchandise sales. On the field, McBride is an instant upgrade over every other striker, and should be served well by international nemesis-turned-teammate Cuauhtemoc Blanco.
Not only does this benefit the Fire, but it also helps grow the game domestically. McBride is known among casual soccer fans (like this one), and is highly regarded by the national team, as he was one of the three overage players on the otherwise under-21 US Olympic Team, and he will be given the captain's armband for the competition as a show of respect for what the man has done for Team USA.
The star power that Brian McBride brings, albeit as a well-aged player, will help the MLS gain credibility internationally. Every time they can sign a player that has played in top European leagues, such as the EPL, it breeds more signings from those leagues.
It's good to see an American international play at home, for the fans, the game and the player, and Brian McBride is a welcome addition to Major League Soccer.