Brian McBride and Pablo Mastroeni on USMNT_notDL
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Casey, Mastroeni on McBride's retirement

Commerce City, Colo. – Chicago Fire forward Brian McBride announced today that he will retire from professional soccer at the end of this season.

Read: Chicago Fire Press Release on McBride retirement

McBride was selected as the first pick in the first-ever Major League Soccer draft back in 1996 by the Columbus Crew. His talents were quickly recognized, and he became one of the first players to use the visibility of playing in a new League as a springboard to higher achievements.

“He’s obviously paved the way for most of us that play in this League today as the first pick of Major League Soccer’s first draft,” said Mastroeni, who teamed with McBride on the U.S teams in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups. “He’s been a pioneer, but not only a pioneer in being the first player, but for playing exemplary soccer on the field and being a class act off the field. He’s definitely a great friend to have.”

McBride made the first of three U.S. Men’s National Team World Cup rosters in 1998, scoring the team’s lone goal of the tournament in France. He became the first U.S. player to score in consecutive World Cups when he scored against Portugal in the historic 3-2 win to start the 2002 World Cup in South Korea.

“He was a big influence on me,” said Rapids forward Conor Casey of McBride. “He was the forward that I watched growing up, really, in America. I definitely took a lot from watching him.”

McBride had one of the most successful stints in a foreign league of any American soccer player, scoring 40 goals for Fulham FC of the English Premier League. He served as captain of the London-based club in 2008, and left as a fan favorite when he returned to MLS to join his hometown Chicago Fire later that year.

“He’s probably been the best forward in U.S. history, and definitely the one I’ve taken the most from,” said Casey. “He’s had an awesome career and he’s just a really nice guy off the field. I wish him well.”

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