- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 25, 2003

When a nice guy gets some well-deserved success, you want to applaud. So here's to American World Cup striker Brian McBride, who has made an instant impact during his return to English soccer.
The Columbus Crew forward has scored three goals in two games for Everton in the English Premier League, where he is currently on three-month loan from Major League Soccer. That's pretty good going for an American in one of the top leagues in the world.
Two years ago, McBride got a shot at playing in England with First Division Preston North End, but the lucrative deal went sour when he was diagnosed with a life-threatening blood clot in his arm.
Now at 30, McBride is stealing headlines. The former Saint Louis University All-American scored two goals the first on a bicycle kick as Everton downed Sunderland 2-1 last week.
After the game, the 6-foot, 175-pounder told the British press that he donates $100 to the Central Ohio Diabetes Association every time he scores a goal or gets an assist.
"I was glad to do it as my grandfather passed away because of complications with diabetes and my wife's father has it," McBride said. "It gives goal scoring an extra kick."
McBride's generosity is a refreshing distraction for the British press, which has been fixated recently with the revelation that Liverpool's Michael Owen, the "Mr. Clean" of English soccer, admitted a seven-figure gambling habit. Owen was reported to have lost $50,000 in a card game while the England team was at last year's World Cup.
It's about time McBride, who last year married the daughter of his Little League baseball coach, earned some recognition at the highest level. His career has been plagued by bad luck and injuries. A close look reveals scars on his forehead that bear witness to his fearless play. After starting in the 1998 World Cup, he broke both cheekbones in the following two years playing for the Columbus Crew. Plastic surgeons rebuilt his face, and titanium plates were inserted to reinforce his eye sockets.
In a game against Mexico in early 2001, he lasted only 10 minutes before leaving the field looking like a badly beaten boxer, with an eye swollen shut. Six months later, the blood clot that had ruined his stay at Preston returned, requiring surgery and the removal of a rib. He missed four World Cup qualifiers, and the U.S. team went (1-2-1) without him.
The only American to score in two World Cups, McBride (nicknamed Bake after former baseball player Bake McBride) must return to Columbus in April for the start of the MLS season. But if his goal production continues, Everton boss David Moyes, who coached McBride at Preston, may be tempted to fork out cash to extend the loan or even sign him. However, it's unlikely MLS will let him go for anything less than $1million.
Interestingly, McBride arrived at the Liverpool-based club just as countryman Joe-Max Moore was saying goodbye. Moore, who looks set to join the New England Revolution, spent nearly four years at Everton, where he notched eight goals in 30 games.
Everton, fifth and 13 points behind leader Arsenal (52 points), is playing its best soccer in years. McBride will get another chance to prove he is not a flash in the pan Tuesday when the Toffees take on Bolton.
China stories U.S. defender Christie Pearce and her teammates will play China tomorrow in Wuhan and then Germany in Shanghai on Wednesday in the Four Nations Cup. The U.S. team downed Norway 3-1 in the opening game of the event Thursday. China will play host to the Women's World Cup from Sept.23 to Oct.11.
"Shanghai was a blast," Pearce said. "Being a Jersey girl, I love New York, and Shanghai is a lot like NYC, except with about 10 million more people."
Convey at the back? Yes, that was D.C. United midfielder Bobby Convey playing in the left back position for the U.S. team last week in its 4-0 win over Canada in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
It was the first time Convey had started a professional or international game on the back line. Convey lined up alongside defenders Dan Califf, Carlos Bocanegra and Sasha Victorine and set up the team's first goal for Bocanegra.
Giant killers await Tiny Farnborough, listed 102 spots below opponent Arsenal in England's league system, faces the reigning league and FA Cup champions in the fourth round of the FA Cup today in London. The game was moved from Farnborough's 4,100-seat venue to the Gunners' 38,500-seat stadium for safety and financial reasons. The minor league team is listed at 10,000-1 to win the Cup compared to Arsenal at 11-4.

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