CHAD WINGER - Wednesday, May 28, 2008
After four and a half seasons with Fulham, veteran striker Brian McBride has decided to return to the United States and return to Major League Soccer.
"After much consideration with my family, we have decided to leave Fulham after four and a half fantastic years," the American said in a statement released by the club. "I have always stated my intention to return to America at some stage and this seems like the right moment in my career to move on."
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the club, the chairman, the staff and wonderful fans for all their support, on and off the field, during my time at Fulham."
Columbus Crew and Chicago Fire have been the rumored destinations for the former Crew man, but MLS officials declined to comment.
McBride, 35, dislocated his kneecap in August of last year while scoring against Middlesbrough and missed the bulk of the season before a successful return to action in February against Aston Villa.
McBride finished the season with four goals, among them, the game winner in the penultimate game of the season against Birmingham City, which in effect kept Fulham in the Premiership at the Blues' expense.
"I take great pride in the fact that my last appearance for Fulham saw the club maintain its Premier League status," McBride commented. "I leave with some wonderful memories from my time at Fulham and the club will always be in my heart."
The retired international has arguably been the Cottagers most important player over the past three seasons. Twice a winner of the team's Player of the Year, the American was named team captain before the start of this past season.
In McBride's tenure with Fulham, the Illinois native played in 153 matches, scoring 40 goals - 32 of which came in the Premiership.
With McBride's departure, Fulham have only two of their previous five Americans - Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson - under contract. The Whites released defender Carlos Bocanegra last week, while keeper Kasey Keller has yet to resign with the club after his one-year deal expired.