For McBride, time was right to get back into international soccer
The time was right for Brian McBride to get back into international soccer.
"Quite honestly it was perfect timing for us," McBride said Monday via conference call from U.S. men's national team camp in Bradenton, Florida. He was named Friday as general manager of the team.
"Nine months ago my wife (Dina) and I sat down and we basically, I started having this conversation with her about the desire to get back into professional soccer. That aligning with our family, our daughters getting older, it just was a perfect-timing situation."
McBride might not immediately seem like the perfect candidate for the job, other than he lives in the Northwest suburbs and U.S. Soccer wants its people living in the Chicago area. The federation is based in Chicago.
Since retiring as a player, McBride, 47, has worked in broadcasting and in business. One of the best players to represent the United States in international play, he does not have experience in this type of job.
McBride, a Buffalo Grove High School graduate, doesn't see it as a problem. Neither does the man who hired him, U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart.
"It's true, within soccer itself, if we're looking at that experience, that was not there," Stewart added. " ... There are some innate qualities that a person has and that you need to have as a manager. When I look at Brian and those unique interpersonal skills that he has, they are outstanding. When it comes to that relationship building and making sure that we're collaborating with clubs and players and coaches on the other side -- one, domestically, but, two, on the other side of the ocean -- those are skills that are going to be very, very important for this job."
The job will require McBride to spend a lot of time on the road, including coordinating with domestic and foreign clubs to have players available when they're needed by the national team.
"Creating partnerships and building networks with domestic and international clubs is something that's just vital and very important," Stewart said. "So there's a lot of traveling that goes into that. Making sure that we're meeting with coaches, general managers and maybe even more importantly our players."
McBride played in Major League Soccer and in three World Cups for the national team. He also spent several years playing in Europe at Fulham, Everton and Preston North End in England and Wolfsburg in Germany during his 17-year playing career.
McBride will oversee first-year coach Gregg Berhalter and the national team operations. It's a program that failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. McBride's contract runs through the 2022 World Cup.
"If I didn't think I could make an impact, I wouldn't be the right person and I shouldn't take the job," McBride said.
• U.S. Soccer also announced that former Chicago Fire defender Gonzalo Segares, a former Costa Rica international, has been hired as coach of the U-15 national team. Since retiring as a player Segares has been coaching in the Fire academy and for FC United in Chicago.