Thursday, February 27, 2003
ESPNsoccernet: May 21, 12:48 AM UK
Loan star returning to States
Rest easy, Crew fans. Brian McBride is coming home in time for season opener against defending MLS Cup Champion L.A. Galaxy on April 5. His three-month loan to Everton will be just that, and not anything more."There's not going to be any extension on the loan," said McBride when reached earlier this week outside of Liverpool, England where he's been since early January.That statement coincides with what Ivan Gazidis, the deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer, has said."They have consistently told us -- and they've said publicly and privately to us -- that this is simply a short-term loan," said Gazidis. "They haven't approached us in any way about either extending the loan or trying to take Brian on a permanent transfer."Of course, all of this is surprising considering how well the 30-year-old striker has done while playing for the Toffees. Forming a dynamic partnership up top with Canadian international Tomasz Radzinski, McBride has scored four goals in six games, and has helped Everton surge to a top-five standing in the English Premier League table.Columbus Crew assistant coach Robert Warzycha, who played for Everton in the early nineties, has been in awe of what his teammate of seven years has done over there."It's an unbelievable achievement for Brian," he said. "He's a special person and can communicate with anyone well, which is what helps makes him successful. It's very difficult to be successful over there because the league is very good and there are good players everywhere, so to have a start like Brian has had is truly amazing."Warzycha is obviously happy to get McBride back in the mix, but knows that he'll be a hot commodity all over England after his impressive stay."If Everton doesn't sign him, they'll be other Premiership clubs that will," said the former Polish National Team midfielder. "When you do well with Everton, Spanish clubs and Italian clubs will see that he has played so well and scored so many goals that they might want to give him a shot in their leagues."If that's the case, McBride hasn't heard of any interest."No, there's been nothing," he said. "We haven't heard of any other teams that are interested, that's for sure."McBride's wife, Dina, and their two-year-old daughter, Ashley, flew home to America on Thursday after staying with Brian for a month in an apartment outside of the city that the club set up for him. The previous three weeks he spent in a hotel.Now in his final month of the loan, McBride will have just three more games to help the Blues climb closer towards qualifying for the Champions League, starting this Saturday against Middlesbrough on the road. Not having a lot of time to bond with his teammates outside of practice and the games, he is looking forward to the week off before the team returns to Goodison Park for a home match against West Ham United on March 15."Since we're not playing, we're going to Spain as a team on Monday for a few days of training," said McBride. His final appearance will be a can't-miss event when Everton travels to Highbury to face EPL leader Arsenal on March 23. After that, it's back to the States, which could mean Seattle, not Columbus, for the National Team's friendly against Japan on March 29. McBride isn't sure if that will happen or not, and whether he'll need to rest his body and get settled back in Columbus, but it is something that Bruce Arena threw out to him recently."I've got two e-mails from him since I've been here," said McBride. "In the first one, he said I was happy I was doing well. The second one was about coming in for the 29th. We'll have to see."While McBride is training hard and doing all he can too keep England's 17-year-old Golden Boy, Wayne Rooney, and Kevin Campbell off the field, his thoughts have also turned to the Crew and the upcoming season."I can't imagine being more excited," he said of the team's outlook. "Our young players -- Kyle Martino and Edson Buddle -- have bundles of talent and have potential to be stars of not only MLS, but of our country. With Jeff Cunningham being in with the National Team in the offseason, that's only going to help his game. With his talents, we have a lot to offer offensively. Defensively with Frankie (Hejduk) and everyone else returning from last year's group, it'll be a lot of fun."Despite what McBride says and the lack of news coming out of Everton on a move to purchase the U.S. veteran from MLS, Warzycha won't believe it until he sees his 6-foot striker wearing a black and yellow jersey."They probably will wait until the last minute and say they aren't going to do anything, but then they'll say, 'We'll give you this for you to stay,'" says Warzycha. "They will make MLS sit on their fingers. But that's good for Brian. He's the one who scored the goals and the price will get high for him."Marc Connolly covers soccer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.