Brian McBride’s scoring prowess, hard-nosed style and team play are just a sampling of the standout qualities that his former teammates acknowledge that defined the former U.S. Men’s National Team forward’s career.
McBride will be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014, entering with a banner career stat line of 30 goals and 10 assists in 95 appearances from 1993-2006. McBride ranks fourth on the all-time MNT goal scoring list.
Current MNT forward Clint Dempsey, former defenders Frankie Hejduk and Gregg Berhalter and former U.S. forward Josh Wolff took some time to look back on McBride’s illustrious career and how he influenced soccer domestically and abroad.
Hall of Fame Honor:
- Josh Wolff: “Great congratulations to him for making the National Soccer Hall of Fame. I don’t know that there’s anyone more deserving. I was fortunate to play alongside of him. He’s had an impact on myself and many players, but most of all, he’s had a great impact on U.S Soccer and soccer in this country. He certainly holds a high standard and high regards with the soccer community and with people in sports in general.”
- Gregg Berhalter: “I think the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Brian is the ultimate team player. He’s a guy who would sacrifice everything for team success. My memory of playing with him and being around him is someone who really gave everything for the team.”
- Josh Wolff: “When I think of Brian McBride, I think of one of the ultimate team players. He embraced being a leader; he embraced being an experienced player. For me, he was someone that was encouraging and certainly helped coach players on the field, and helped you feel comfortable. He was easy to play with, easy to understand, and when he played in games he was a ruthless finisher. He brought a lot of great qualities to the games, but most of all he was a team player who embraced that role in every aspect. He was a leader.”
- Frankie Hejduk: “You knew what you were getting out of McBride every single time, game in and game out. The most important thing for me was that it wasn’t just games, but training in and training out; the guy was a constant professional in every sense of the word. He came to work every day, always had a good attitude, but the at the same time – because you always can’t be happy-go-lucky all the time in the field when stuff is not going well – he demanded the best out of you. You wanted to be around him on that field. If there was ever a forward I would want to play with up top, he would be one of the guys that I definitely would pick in my whole career because I knew exactly what I was getting out of him, day in and day out. All the guys did.”
Sacrificing His Body:
- Josh Wolff: “No moment was too big, no moment was too small; he embraced that role, and I think that’s why his legacy will live in the way that it will. He was a competitor, he was brave, he put his head in some places that were very difficult, he took some lumps, but again, continued to brush himself off, get back on the field and continue to get results with his club team, the National Team and set a real standard for strikers in America.”
- Frankie Hejduk: “As a player, he just earned respect from all of the guys and he led by example, and that example was training very hard and bringing that into the game. How many games did you see the guy with blood on his head but taping it up, and didn’t care and was back out there? He was definitely my type of player. He’s just a good, good dude, a solid man, and I’m happy to not only have been able to play with him but know him as a person and consider him a great friend to this day both on and off the field.”
- Gregg Berhalter: “When you look at his play, not only the fact that he was a great goal scorer, he worked extremely hard. He challenged for every ball. He put his body on the line for the team. Whether it was coming back on defensive plays on set pieces, he was a guy who did everything to help the team win, and I think by saying that I don’t want to take his skills lightly because as a goal scorer, he was phenomenal. He was a guy who could put the ball in the back of the net, and as you saw in the World Cup and as you saw throughout his career, he had a knack for scoring important goals. His legacy in my mind is both of those: a fantastic goal scorer and a great teammate.”
Breaking Through in Europe:
- Clint Dempsey: “What made ‘McBrizzle’ such a special player, I think, was his leadership, professionalism on and off the field, and big goals in big moments. He was one of the first Americans to pave the way in Europe, so we owe a lot to him. He gave me guidance when I was at Fulham with him. He helped me figure out how to make it over there and I was able to learn from him and follow on his footsteps.”