Magee celebrates Chicago homecoming

Mike Magee was ready to come home.

“It’s been on my mind pretty much since I left,” said Magee, the 28-year-old Long Grove native the Fire acquired Friday in a trade for the MLS rights to Robbie Rogers. “I tried to get back a couple of times in the past. I think throughout the process with Robbie Rogers, that whole saga with him trying to get to L.A., it just crept into my mind that somebody had to go to Chicago.

“I raised my hand.”

Magee left St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights to go to the U.S. Soccer residency camp in Florida before beginning his professional soccer career. He made his pro debut in New York at age 18 in 2003 and went to the Los Angeles Galaxy before the start of the 2009 season.

“People are coming out of the woodwork,” Magee said Monday after his first training session with his new team. “I moved away when I was 15, and I haven’t moved back since. I have a lot of family here, I kept in touch with all my friends, so it’s good to be back to say the least.”

Still, Magee seems a little surprised the trade worked out.

“I have to thank the Galaxy,” Magee said. “I had a good talk with (Galaxy coach Bruce Arena), mentioned I’m from here and it’s long past due that I get home. The Galaxy were great in facilitating it.”

The adjustment to a new locker room might be a little awkward at first, but Magee expects to have no problem fitting in.

“It was the first time I was nervous in a while,” he said. “It was obviously some awkward conversations, kind of meeting some guys, and then kind of catching up with some old guys. Yeah, I haven’t had that feeling since I went to L.A.

“Oh, everything was great. More than I expected. It was a lot more faces that I knew than I thought I would. They have a great environment here. It’s unfortunate the points aren’t showing at the moment.”

There are familiar faces on the coaching staff also.

“(Assistant coach Mike Matkovich), I’ve known him since I was younger and played for the Sockers. He was a Magic guy, so I hated him then,” Magee said with a smile. “I’ve known (Fire coach Frank Klopas) as well since, I mean, I was a Fire fan. As cliché as that is, Frank’s the guy I always loved as a player. We’ve kept in touch. ... Just a bunch of good guys, to be honest.”

As well as a much-needed ability to score, Magee brings the experience of winning two consecutive MLS Cups with the Galaxy, something he hopes he can do with his new team also.

“I played with some pretty cool players in L.A.,” without mentioning the likes of David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, “so hopefully try to take some of the things I learned from them and maybe teach the young guys here. But they have good leadership here. I know (Jeff) Larentowicz and Logan, two good guys, good locker room guys.”

Follow Orrin on Twitter @orrin_schwarz

Mike Magee goes through his first training session with the Chicago Fire on Monday morning. Photo courtesy of
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