BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- The Chicago Fire acquired former United States striker Brian McBride from Toronto FC on Wednesday for Chad Barrett, a first-round pick in the 2009 draft and future considerations.
The clubs had been working since last week to complete the deal for McBride, a native of the northwestern Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights.
"I am excited to be joining the Chicago Fire for many reasons. One of the most important of those is Chicago is my hometown," said McBride, who spent the last 4½ years at Fulham in the English Premier League.
McBride, 36, played eight years in Major League Soccer for the Columbus Crew before going to England, where he was on loan to two clubs before joining the London side. He finished his contract in May after helping the club avoid relegation, saying he and his family wanted to return to the United States.
"The [MLS] has continued to get a lot better," McBride said. "The depth of the league has gotten much better and the speed of play has gotten faster. I'm excited to be a part of it."
Before his first MLS stint, McBride played briefly for a second-tier German club, but returned to the States when MLS was formed.
Toronto was assigned McBride's rights in MLS through an allocation process, but McBride expressed interest in returning to his hometown club.
"Brian is an outstanding player," Fire owner and chairman Andrew Hauptman said. "His tremendous skill and dedication to the sport are an inspiration to us all. We're thrilled we are able to bring him back to Chicago and MLS, and I am confident he will have an important impact on the team."
McBride was a seven-time All-Star in eight seasons with the Crew, with 62 goals and 45 assists. He then moved to Fulham, where he started 111 games and scored 40 goals, 32 in Premier League matches. He was Fulham's player of the year in 2005 and 2006, and was the team's captain last season.
McBride missed much of his final season in England after dislocating his kneecap last August. But his return in February galvanized Fulham, as the club avoided relegation with four wins in its last five games.
McBride currently is in Asia with the U.S. Olympic team. Though he retired from international play after the 2006 World Cup, he is one of the three "overage" players on the U.S. team for the Beijing Games, serving as captain.
"My goal is to continue playing at a high level as long as I can," McBride said. "If at the end of my contract both myself and the Fire feel I can continue playing, then I will."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press