It is not every day that you receive an e-mail asking if you want to interview a U.S. Soccer legend. When the opportunity was presented to me, there was nothing to say but yes.
For USMNT fans, most remember Brian McBride as a strong and powerful forward who played during the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups. If you are a soccer that is still in their early 20’s, you probably remember McBride from the popular game, Backyard Soccer. However, for those that truly remember the name, one thing is certain, McBride is one of the best to ever play both domestically and international as an American.
The American Pitch had the pleasure of talking with McBride about the current USMNT, his campaign with Allstate and some of his favorite memories during his playing career.
TAP: Tell me about the work that you are currently doing with Allstate.
BM: It really is an enjoyable experience. We do an autograph signing the day of the game, two hours before, for an hour and a half. Then the really cool part is always the night before. We go to a local soccer club and surprise one team at their practice. Basically, interupt it and run some fun games and hand out some prizes. Then after that, we give them a backpack, that Allstate provides. They get really nice jerseys, the backpack, soccer ball and shinguards. It is an opportunity that a lot of them really don’t get a chance to do normally. To see their faces, when they open the backpack, it is pretty special. At the very end of it, they open one pocket and it has two tickets to a game the next day. It is a really nice way for Allstate to give back to the community and I just get to be a part of it and it really is a lot of fun.
TAP: Wow that is fantastic! Are you the only one that is currently a part of this? Or are there other former players involved as well?
BM: I think they do something with Tony Meola and the MLS side of it, but I think I am the only one on the U.S. Soccer side at the moment.
TAP: Because of your decorated past with the USMNT, what is your take on how well the U.S. will do in their famed “Group of Death?”
BM: I think it really depends on the first game. I think if they get the win there, it really could propel them to surprise one of the two next teams. I saw that because, getting that positive result, not because you get the three points and you put your self in a good spot in the group, but, it helps build momentum. From all the work you have been doing over in the last month, as a group, trying to up towards something and seeing it payoff, really helps you push in the right direction moving forward.
TAP: With the group of players that Jurgen Klinsmann has on his squad, how far, realistically do you see this team making it?
BM: I always say that getting through the Group Stage is the most important part of it. As we all know, anything can happen in soccer as far as results. You can surprise a team on any given day, if they are not at full boar and you are playing at the top of your game. The nice thing about getting into the Knockout round is that you are able to focus on just one game at a time. It is knowing that, if you win that one there is another and if you don’t there is no reason to focus on anything else.
TAP: What are your thoughts on Julian Green as a player and his addition to the roster?
BM: The first time I got to see him play, it was about 20 minutes, and he looked really good. He looked like he had a very confident first touch, he was silky in his movement. He tried a few things that did not work, the things that did work looked good, as far as his passing. In the first game he looked like a prospect. Since making the team, I think there has been added pressure for sure. In the last outing, he looked a little tight. He did not seem to be overtaking things and he appeared to be over-thinking things as well. It just was not as fluid as he was the first time I saw him.
His inclusion, listen, anytime a player makes the World Cup roster, I am never going to say he doesn’t deserve it. That player has put in so many hours. Julian Green is the type of player that you bring to get experience, does he have to play? Well, you want him to get experience at this World Cup, the problem is, you have a lot of players that also do not have a lot of experience similar to Green. I am ok with taking one, but taking a lot of players…Jurgen must feel that they are ready.
TAP: What would be your favorite World Cup memory?
BM: My whole experience at the 2002 World Cup. From being able to share it with my wife and my daughter, to the comeroter in the group, to the focus together and tightness of a group that was always working for each other. Getting the result and getting as far as we did.
TAP: Fan Question, (Gaby Lara, Appleton, WI.) “Would you ever consider coaching in MLS?
BM: Yeah of course. I have taken my B-License, I have not had any time to take my A-License yet, but I do play on doing it sometime soon. Being a part of the professional relem of soccer is something I am always interested in doing. Whether it is commentating or coaching. I think it would be a great joy and a challenge I would love to have.
TAP: What was it like to play with/against Landon Donovan and Taylor Twellman?
BM: (Laughs) Ahh, well they are two different types of players. I have known Taylor for a very long time. One of his grade school teachers was one of my mom’s good friends. When I was down in St. Louis, I actually went into his classroom and talked and of course I had no idea until about 12-15 years later when Taylor told me about it. I really like Taylor as a guy and as a soccer player, he was always that was very effective and hard to play against. He scored goals. It was a shame that concussions came, because it definately ended his career to early.
For Landon, he is a special player, I mean what can you say about him. He is a record breaking player for the U.S. in goals and assists. I would have thought he would get the record for appearances, but Landon is a guy that can still take you 1v1, he can find a pass, he really is a complete player. Probably the only things that you would not think, but one of his main strengths is getting up and winning headers. If I was that lucky and to say that I could not do only one thing, that would be it. Landon, that is him, he is a very complete player.
TAP: Brian I really appreciate your time today, thank you so much for doing this.
BM: Thank you very much and thank you for your time, I enjoyed it.
Here are some of McBride’s greatest goals during his soccer career. Enjoy and take notes all your forwards out there.