former World Cup players -- and training and playing with them everyday for over two years was a great experience for a young player like myself. Now you have a lot of good, up and coming young American players and as a league it's become a lot harder. The play has definitely gotten better over the years. The players understand the game a lot more and this league keeps getting better and better.
"I wasn't here from the beginning, but from my four and a half years of being with the League, and with Chicago, it's been a great experience. They've taught me all the ropes of being a professional. MLS is definitely a good place for young players to come in and become professionals. Hopefully a lot of our younger stars will stay in MLS and help it grow."
On how the Fire helped him become a mainstay with the U.S. national team:
"A lot of credit goes to the coaching staff and the Fire organization, especially to Bob Bradley, for really pushing me and teaching me the game of soccer. I have a lot of respect for him as a person and as a coach. I owe a lot of my accomplishments to him. I know he pushed for me to go with the National Team while he was in Chicago. He talked to [U.S. National Team Head Coach] Bruce Arena numerous times to try to get me with the team. When I did, it was always Chicago that I came back to train with and prepared me for those games with the National Team."
On Chicago Fire fans:
"The Fire fans, other people have said it -- other teams, other coaches, other players -- are the best in MLS, and they are. They come out whether the team is winning or losing, everyday, rain or shine. Section 8 and the Barn Burners are great. They come out and sing and have different chants for different players. It's an unbelievable environment and it was just a joy playing in front of all those passionate fans. They're always out there supporting the Fire and Fire players always want to show their support as well and give them a good show on the field."
On his most memorable Fire moment:
"There were lots of great moments with the Fire, but I guess it was during my rookie year in 2000. I started the whole second half of that season, with Diego [Gutierrez] being hurt, so that was my big opportunity to get into games and get real playing time and live up to my hype. One of the times that sticks out most was during Game 3 of the playoffs against the MetroStars, when we were up 2-0 and they came back and scored two and then Ante Razov scored the game-winning goal to take us to MLS Cup. I started and played the entire match, and when Ante scored the goal with his right foot, that was definitely my most memorable moment as a Fire player. To that, last year when Chris Armas scored the goal against New England and took us to another final, that was also pretty memorable."
On the possibility of returning to MLS:
"I definitely want to come back to MLS. I've talked to [Deputy MLS Commissioner] Ivan Gazidis about it and one day I would love to come back to MLS and end my career here. I don't want to come back when I'm 35 and not be able to play anymore. I want to come back at a good age when I can still contribute to a team. I want to be able to come in and play and make a difference for the team and not just be there because of my name. MLS has shown me a lot of love throughout my time here. I feel very confident that I'll be back."
On a possible return to the Fire later in his career:
"I would love to come back to the Fire. I love the Fire and Chicago is my second home, next to Fort Wayne. I have a lot of friends here and I'm buying a house here. I feel very much at home here. Hopefully Peter Wilt will still want me back."