McBride to retire, Becks sets return date with Galaxy

David Beckham said he is targeting the Sept. 11 game against the Columbus Crew at Home Depot Center.

You might want to hold off on buying your tickets just yet though.

“I’ll be on the bench and hopefully I’ll get on the field for 15-20 minutes,”Beckham said Thursday.

Frankly, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Just the day before Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena was asked when Beckham would return and he said that was “unclear” because the midfielder was in “uncharted territory.”

Beckham is known for being overly optimistic about his return from injuries in the past and whether Arena would give him a debut against the Eastern Conference leaders in what is presumably a crucial game for the Galaxy remains to be seen.

Besides, even Beckham sounds like he has his doubts to me.

“At the moment, you have good days and you have bad days,” he said. “You wake up with a lot more pain in your body when you’re in pre-season.

“Cutting and turning and pushing off is still difficult for me,” he added, “but that’s going to come in time.”

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The bigger news this morning is that former Fulham star Brian McBride announced today he will retire at season’s end.

That means he will play one final regular season MLS game against the Galaxy Saturday (live at 1 p.m. on Prime) and the likes of former international teammates Landon Donovan, Jovan Kirovski, Eddie Lewis and perhaps (if he returns from injury) Gregg Berhalter:

Brian McBride, whose scoring touch and tenacity earned him fans on both sides of the Atlantic, is calling it a career.

The 38-year-old McBride said Friday he will retire at the end of the season, his third with his hometown Chicago Fire. McBride has 78 goals and 51 assists in 11 years with Chicago and Columbus, where he still shares the Crew record for goals scored. He ranks third on the U.S. national team’s all-time scoring list, and was so beloved at Fulham that the English Premier League team named a stadium bar after him.

McBride had three goals in three World Cup appearances for the United States, and was the first American to score in more than one tournament (1998 and 2002). His 30 goals in a U.S. uniform trail only Landon Donovan (45) and Eric Wynalda (34). McBride retired from international play after the 2006 World Cup, though he returned as one of the United States’ three older players at the 2008 Olympics.

McBride, an All-American at St. Louis, was the No. 1 pick in Major League Soccer’s first
draft. He scored 62 goals and had 45 assists in eight years with the Crew, and his ability to create goals seemingly out of nothing caught the eye of English scouts. He was loaned out twice by MLS, first to Preston North End in 2000 and then to Everton two years later, scoring five goals in 17 games.

He left Columbus for good in January 2004, transferring to Fulham, and endeared himself to fans immediately by scoring in his first appearance for the Cottagers. He had 40 goals in 4 years at Fulham, and led the team in scoring in 2006-07. He was named captain in August 2007, a rare honor for an American, and his return from injury is credited with sparking a remarkable late-season rally that saved Fulham from relegation.

McBride missed most of the 2007-08 season with a ruptured quadriceps and dislocated kneecap. After “Captain Courageous” returned, the Cottagers won four of their last five games to keep their spot in the Premier League. Though Fulham wasn’t able to lure him back for another season, it renamed the bar at Craven Cottage “McBride’s” as a tribute to his contributions.

Since joining the Fire in July 2008, the Arlington Heights, Ill., native has scored 16 goals
and led Chicago to back-to-back appearances in the Eastern Conference finals.

Personally, there were few players I respected more than McBride.

His trademark of fearlessly soaring in the penalty area to improbably get his head on the ball was a sight to behold.

And how many times did we see McBride, blood streaming down his journey from a head wound, running to the sideline to get the flow staunched and then returning to the field of play?

McBride was a brave, noble player who always gave his all for club and country.

It will be a long time before we see his like again.

McBride is holding his farewell press conference as I write this.

I’ll update this post with a few quotes a little later.

Updated

Said McBride for his reason for retiring, according to AP:

“It was time for me. It was something that I felt I wanted to do, not so much that that I can’t keep playing. It was time for a new segment of life and a different career.”

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  • Inigo Montoya

    Brian McBride is the best pure striker the US has ever produced, brave and durable a good guy to boot. I think of him and Mia Hamm as two sides of the coin. I wish him well.

    One big question his retirement raises: there are Mia Hamm wannabes out there, but why haven’t we seen US strikers who emulate McBride? No teenager or twenty-something has been out there noticing that playing like that will make him successful, famous and loved?

    A mystery to me.

  • Studs Up

    Great servant to club and country. Not that is means much but, just like Donovan, he dissed his original MLS team to play for his homwtown team thus making a lot of enemies. Great career though, salutaions.

    Any MLS originals left after this season?

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/soccer Nick Green

    Just Frankie Hejduk, Zach Thornton and Eddie Lewis, I believe.

    Jaime Moreno is also retiring at season’s end and Steve Ralston just retired.

    Brad Friedel is still playing in England, and, theoretically I suppose, could still return to MLS.

    Did I miss anyone else?

  • http://www.hicarebeautyspa.com CHSPA

    Great servant to club and country.