Jon Busch watched from the goal area, seeing everything Brian McBride had to offer the Columbus Crew back in the early years of Major League Soccer.
Busch and McBride were teammates for three years in Columbus, from 2002-2004, when Busch was an MLS newcomer and McBride was the league's biggest star.
McBride is about to embark on his second MLS career, when he joins the Chicago Fire in mid-August following the trade Wednesday that sent McBride to the Fire and sent Fire forward Chad Barrett to Toronto FC along with a first round draft choice in 2009.
McBride, 36, is returning to MLS after four years with Fulham in the English Premier League. Like everyone else on the Fire, Busch is excited for what McBride will offer when he arrives following his playing with the U.S. Olympic team in Beijing in August.
"He's a great person to begin with," Busch said. "Off the field he is fantastic, in the locker room he is one of the boys. He is one of the guys we all looked up to. He was a tremendous teammate. I'm really excited to having him back."
It's equally exciting for the Fire players who only know McBride by name and reputation.
"I'm thrilled," Fire midfielder Logan Pause said. "It's very exciting for me. Any time you get to bring a player of that caliber, it's exciting, but I have also heard nothing but great things about the person he is. From what I hear, he is going to be a great role model for the young guys. He will be able to teach the young guys, including myself, how to be a pro."
McBride's addition will change the face of the team up top. The Fire traded forward Chad Barrett to Toronto to get McBride, but forward Chris Rolfe figures to form a tandem with McBride while forwards Andy Herron, Tomasz Frankowski and youngster Patrick Nyarko will have to bide their time to get on the field.
For Busch, the addition of one of the great "head" players in U.S. history is nothing but a great thing.
"For me, it's great to have a big aerial target," Busch said. "I can kick it anywhere in the air up there and I know he will be on the end of it. He's the best in the states at doing that.
"It will be good for our forwards in a number of ways," Busch continued. "One, they will be able to run off of him, and No. 2, they are going to learn a lot from him. One of the things I remember about him in Columbus is he trained hard every day, and he mentored guy. He worked with guys like Edson Buddle and Jeff Cunningham and showing them the ropes, how to be a successful forward. I'm really excited to have him back."
Kent McDill is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.