LONDON -- Brian McBride is leaving Fulham of England's Premier League to return to the United States.
"After much consideration with my family, we have decided to leave Fulham after four and a half fantastic years," the 35-year-old forward said in a statement Wednesday on the club's Web site. "I have always stated my intention to return to America at some stage and this seems like the right moment in my career to move on."
McBride's contract has expired. He avoided discussing his future after Fulham avoided relegation on the final day of the season.
"I take great pride in the fact that my last appearance for Fulham saw the club maintain its Premier League status," McBride said. "I leave with some wonderful memories from my time at Fulham, and the club will always be in my heart."
McBride dislocated his kneecap in August. Although he scored just three more goals after returning to action in February, his ability to hold up the ball, distract defenses and win headers helped galvanize the team.
McBride, the only American player to score in two World Cups, retired from international soccer in 2006. At Fulham, he was among five American players, including goalkeeper Kasey Keller, defender Carlos Bocanegra and forward Eddie Johnson.
Bocanegra also is leaving Fulham.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press