Brian McBride Talks World Cup And The “Snowman Dance”

The American soccer legend takes aim at our favorite 10 questions.

News from US Soccer camp broke yesterday that coach Jurgen Klinsmann had called in Brian McBride this week for advisement. We spoke to Brian about the US strategy going into two critical World Cup Qualifiers, as well as more important issues like his first hoopty and the “snowman dance.”

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty)

Two huge qualifiers this week and next, what do you think are the most important factors?

Well, I think the biggest thing is some injuries. Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey are coming off an injury and when you’re in those situations, putting your team together is really going to be the important thing. The good thing for Jurgen [Klinsmann] is he’s been able to see a lot of different players on different teams. The big issue is the back positions. But one dynamic of Jurgen’s is wanting to make sure that we play more position-oriented soccer and are confident enough to get it in and out of tight spaces.

How do you think GK Brad Guzan will fare covering for the injured Tim Howard? Will the team need to compensate for his lack of experience?

I don’t think that’s going to be an issue, especially for Brad. Brad’s been in tough situations; he’s been in pressured games, especially now in the Premier league. In qualifying there are so many different aspects to the game that throw wrenches in – quality of the field, the locker rooms, the travel, all these different things that matter. For the game coming up in Mexico you’ve got altitude. The only benefit I think in this coming up, quite a few of Mexico’s European-based players will have sort of the same issues that the Americans will.

How is playing internationally different than club play, both emotionally and tactically, as someone who’s played extensively in both?

I think everything’s magnified when you play for your country. When you play games domestically in the US there aren’t people scrutinizing, and there are times the season is long and your mental preparation may not be where it needs to be. I think when you get moved to the nationals team, just the honor of being a part of representing your country. You get to represent the United States of America so that gives you quite a bit of extra boost.

You played in the Inaugural MLS season. How do you feel about the steps that MLS has taken to become a bigger, more viable league, as well as soccer’s growth in America as a whole?

I think the growth, especially the infrastructure of the game is huge – and it’s leaps and bounds from where it started. They basically sell 36,000 season tickets each year. There are players now who are coming to work from Europe that are still very much in their prime, young players from South America and Central America who make a difference. So I think that it’s a great situation where the profile and the league will continue to grow and add more cities. Very exciting to see.

QUICK! PENALTY KICK! Left or right?

I’m going right, goalie’s left. Now that I’m done playing I can tell you that.


What was the last thing you had to apologize for?

Probably to my wife for forgetting my schedule. I actually just ask her, ‘what’s my schedule?’ and then apologize for not knowing it.

What is your favorite curse word or phrase?

I don’t really have one. Now that I’m not inside of the locker rooms and around the guys a lot, there’s not a lot of cursing. Plus, I’m on TV so I have to be careful.

What is the worst hangover you ever had? I am going to guess it might have been abroad.

Oh gosh. I can’t remember. I’ve got an off button so I usually stop.

What was your first car?

My first car was a hand-me-down Nissan Sentra. The transmission had already conked once and conked again as I started my trip from Saint Louis University back home. I had to go 30 miles an hour on the highway at second gear.

Do you have a scar that tells a story?

Oh, for sure. I have quite a few. I got one above my left eye I gained in the World Cup 2006 [from Daniele De Rossi]. I took an elbow and he hit me in the best spot. Two inches below he would’ve gotten my nose and that would’ve been a different story, but there was only a few stitches.

Do you have a party trick?

My daughters love when I do the snowman dance. You know when you do the sprinkler and stuff like that? Well, the snowman dance is more elaborate. You actually have to build a whole snowman. You’ve got the snow coming down you have to build the bottom part and the middle part is the best because you have to act like it’s all heavy and you have to get it on. It tells a story.

What is the biggest thing you have ever put in your mouth?

Ha! I am going to have to pass on that one.

What’s the one thing you should remember in a fist fight?

That anything goes. If you’re in a fight, you don’t worry about doing the right thing – you do what’s available to you. Self-preservation.

Who was the last person to see you naked?

That would be my wife.

Finish this sentence, if I ruled the world for a day I would?

I mean the correct thing would be world peace, of course. But, I guess probably that’s something that would take a lot longer then a day. I would probably make rules to make me ruler for longer than a day. 

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