BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – It’s Chicago or nothing for Arne Friedrich next season.
Fortunately for the Fire, the former German international didn’t seem like a man who had played his last game on Wednesday, as the Fire lost to the Houston Dynamo, 2-1 in the Knockout Round of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
While the result was certainly disappointing, it didn’t sour Friedrich on another year in the Windy City.
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“I feel really good here,” he said. “I cannot say anything because nothing is done so far, and we’ve got to come together, we have to talk about that. But I definitely can imagine to stay. … I guess now it’s time to come together and talk about the situation, but I guess both sides would like to stay together. There’s definitely a good chance.”
Friedrich came to the Fire in March after canceling his contract with VfL Wolfsburg of the German Bundesliga last September, when he mulled saying goodbye to professional soccer.
But the former German international found a new opportunity in Chicago, where he said he began enjoying the game once again. He’s quick to express his adoration for a city he knew next to nothing about just a year ago.
“I miss almost nothing except my girlfriend and my family,” he told MLSsoccer.com a few months ago.
Friedrich said after Wednesday’s season-ending loss that he isn’t looking at the possibility of joining any other club. Retirement is the only other option the 32-year-old is considering.
“This is what I told everybody in the past before I came to America: I would never again play in Europe,” Friedrich said. “I appreciate the time here in Chicago. I had a wonderful time, it’s a wonderful club, very professional, and I like the city. So if I play one more year then [it will be] here in Chicago.”
Anthony Zilis covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com.