Former striker and current Fox Soccer analyst Brian McBride is perhaps one of the greatest soccer stars to come out of St. Louis.
McBride was born in Arlington Heights, Ill. and had a distinguished career playing for the Billikens at SLU, where he graduated in 1993. In 89 games, he scored 72 goals.
He went on to play for Chicago Fire, Fulham FC and Columbus Crew, with appearances in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups.
McBride talked with Mike Kelly and Bill McDermott on the World Cup Wrap Up Show during the KMOX Dave Sinclair Lincoln and Ford Sports Open Line.
KMOX: Are we catching up to be an international soccer nation?
MCBRIDE: I think we are catching up, but I think almost all the nations are catching up. Soccer is such a global game now. There are scouts everywhere. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing—you’ll be scouted and found. The exposure for players from different countries is a lot better, so they bring it back to their nation and the national team gets stronger from that. So, I do think we are stronger, but I also think that it’s more difficult because the other teams have gotten stronger, too.
KMOX: What do you think in terms of Klinsmann taking over the national program?
MCBRIDE: I think the development for me since he’s taken over is more the infrastructure. It has shown definitely on the field, but I think it’s going to show more long-term. What I mean by that is getting all of the youth national teams aligned with the same, not even just the same thought process, but the same conversations. Now, players coming through are put into the styles, the positions, the ideas are in front of them that will help them progress and hopefully reach the men’s national team. The beneficial aspects for players now is that Jürgen [Klinsmann] has basically put in place everything you could ever want as a player, whether it be your nutrition, your sleeping, nice hotels, the travel, the fitness side of things—it’s all cutting edge. That helps a team and it gives you one less thing to worry about.
KMOX: As a coach of a national team, would you have handled the Landon Donovan situation the same as Jürgen Klinsmann?
MCBRIDE: No, I wouldn’t have. I think Landon has a lot to give, and it’s not just the fact that he’s done it before. His decision-making in tight places is very good. Knowing that it would have been this big of a deal, I probably wouldn’t have even gone to bring him into camp if I was going to do it. If I was a coach, I’d have him as part of the team. I don’t think it’s retribution. It might be something down to stuff that has occurred in the past. I think if he truly felt that he had players that were good enough to do it, to get through the group stage, progress, and he made this decision, then that’s a strong manager, and he made the decision for what he wants. There’s still so much to be played out. For me, it can’t be just about the soccer side of it. I think even if you bring him off the bench, he’s going to add something to the team, he’s going to give you something and, of course, the big fear when you put a big player on the bench and you don’t start him, is if he’s going to be cancerous and bring other guys down with him. He’s not that type of guy. He’s a pretty quiet guy. If anything, it would just motivate him a little more.
Listen here for the full interview with Brian McBride.
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