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McBride to Join Fulham Pending Work Permit

COLUMBUS, Ohio - U.S. international forward Brian McBride has signed a two and a half year contact with Fulham of the English Premier League, pending completion of a successful medical and receipt of a work permit from the Home Office.

If the paperwork clears, McBride will be the second U.S. international to join the club in the last week after defender Carlos Bocanegra signed on for three years on January 13, 2004. Bocanegra played all 90 minutes at left back in a 3-1 loss to Newcastle at St. James Park on Monday Jan. 19). Other U.S. internationals who have been a part of Fulham are midfielder Eddie Lewis and goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann. 

"This has been a difficult two weeks, and it has been a very tough decision from the get-go," said the 31-year-old Columbus Crew striker. "I didn' t think an opportunity like this would be available and when it was, my family and I wanted to hear what the opportunity was.  Over the past four years, there has been a lot of talk of me leaving.  It has been a long, tiresome process, with many sleepless nights, but we felt it was the right opportunity for us and it was time to move forward.  As hard as it is to leave, we felt it was the right thing to do.  It is an exciting new opportunity for my family and I."  

McBride has found the back of the net 23 times for the U.S. in 73 appearances. He is approaching the 11th anniversary of his first cap which came in March of 1993 vs. Honduras.

"Brian is a great talent who can combine assisting attacking play as well as getting his fair share of goals," Fulham manager Chris Coleman said on the team's web site. "He has superb aerial ability and has already proved that he can perform each week at the highest level. His experience of the Premiership will also prove a valuable asset to us in the coming months."

McBride will become the seventh U.S. international currently competing in England's top division, joining U.S. captain Claudio Reyna, Brad Friedel, Tim Howard, Kasey Keller, Jovan Kirovski and Bocanegra.  Fulham, the former club of midfielder Eddie Lewis, currently sit seventh in the the EPL table with 31 points through 22 fixtures.

Fulham was looking for a striker as it is working to deal current forward Louis Saha to Manchester United.