Photo by ISI Photos
If you thought the last image you would ever have of Brian McBride in a U.S. uniform was him walking off the field after the U.S. team’s World Cup loss to Ghana in 2006, think again.
McBride and U.S. Olympic team coach Peter Nowak have had discussions about McBride being one of the team’s three over-age players for this summer’s Olympics and McBride is interested in being on the team, making him a front-runner to be one of the three senior players chosen by Nowak.
Sources have told SBI that McBride is one of several over-age candidates contacted by Nowak about playing in Beijing and McBride is very interested in being on the team. His inclusion would give the team a sorely-needed boost at the forward position and he could potentially form an imposing forward tandem with Jozy Altidore.
So why is a 35-year old (36 at the Olympics) going to snap a two-year national team retirement for the Olympics? Of all of McBride’s impressive national team accomplishments, including World Cups, Gold Cups and a Confederations Cup, he has never played in the Olympics. There is still plenty of time between now and July, when the Olympic team will convene, so McBride’s health and continued interest will ultimately determine if he does join the team, but right now McBride should be considered a front-runner.
Also working in McBride’s favor is the possibility that some of the U.S. senior team’s top players will be unavailable for the Olympics due to a schedule conflict with a World Cup qualifier against Guatemala. While the schedule issue could still be worked out, there is also a scenario where the qualifier cannot be moved and the Olympic schedule forces some top American players to pass on the Olympics.
Does this mean there could be a national team come-back in McBride’s future? I haven’t heard anything on that but I would find it hard to believe that McBride would turn down the call if Bob Bradley asked for his help and the U.S. team were facing a must-win situation in World Cup qualifying. You may recall Tab Ramos coming out of retirement after two years away from the national team to help the U.S. World Cup qualifying campaign in 2000 (he helped the U.S. post a pair of blowout wins vs. Barbados). Given the unsettled nature of the U.S. forward crop, you cannot rule it out.
For now, the focus should be on the very real possibility that McBride could lead a talented U.S. Olympic team into what should be a very deep and difficult tournament at the Olympics.
What do you think of McBride coming back to play in the Olympics? Share your thoughts below.