Ahead of Ireland’s international friendly against the USA we take a look back at ex-Everton and Fulham striker, and brilliantly Irish-sounding American, Brian McBride.
Rise To Success
Despite sounding like he went to primary school in Ireland, US soccer legend Brian McBride did not, in fact, enroll in the Emerald Isle.
McBride was born in Arlington Heights, Illinois and went to Saint Louis University where he broke every record imaginable for the Bilikens soccer team, including goals (72) and assists (40).
McBride’s first venture into English football came in 2000 when he signed for a young David Moyes at Preston. Despite only making nine appearances during his spell at Deepdale (mainly due to suffering a serious blood clot injury on his debut) Moyes tried to sign McBride permanently, but the £1.8 million offer was rejected by the MLS.
Four years later McBride was back on loan under Moyes’s guidance, but this time it was on Merseyside with Premier League side Everton. The Toffees were plummeting down the table when McBride joined, and the busy striker’s four goals in eight games were crucial as Everton finished 17th, narrowly avoiding the drop.
The next season McBride signed for Fulham for £1.5 million and grabbed ten league goals in his first two seasons at Craven Cottage.
Despite being just six-foot tall, McBride established himself at Fulham as one of the biggest aerial threats in the division and was constantly praised for his commitment and dedication on the pitch.
As impressive as McBride’s MLS scoring record was, the highlight of his club career undoubtedly came in the 2006/7 Premier League season. The Illinois native bagged 12 goals and captained Fulham to safety after his side had slipped into relegation trouble.
McBride’s goals and commitment to Fulham Football Club are so fondly remembered at Craven Cottage that in June 2009, they renamed the iconic bar at the ground “McBrides” as a tribute to their beloved striker.
On an international front, McBride notched an impressive 30 goals in 95 games for the USA, three of which came at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups respectively.
He also scored four times for his country in the 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign and, in 2014, was inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame.
Where He Is Now?
After leaving his beloved Fulham in 2008, McBride returned to the MLS and played three seasons with Chicago Fire before retiring from the game in 2010. He did, however, come out of retirement in 2012 to play with Wembley FC in their FA Cup campaign alongside fellow Premier League icons, Ray Parlour, Martin Keown, and Danny Dichio.
Nowadays, McBride is still a strong presence in the game back in the US. He works as an analyst for ESPN FC and, in July 2017, he was appointed as head coach of the MLS Homegrown Team who participate in the annual MLS Homegrown Game which showcases the young talent within the MLS League’s youth development system.
McBride is also heavily involved in a number of businesses and is the co-founder of Tipevo, a website used by athletes to help simplify, understand and navigate the youth sports ecosystem in America.
As good as McBride was with his head on the pitch, it’s clear that he also knows how to use it off the pitch.