As the inaugural inductee of the Crew's Circle of Honor, Brian McBride was honored to have his former Crew and U.S. Men's National Team teammate Frankie Hejduk's name join his on the upper fascia of Crew Stadium on Saturday night.
Having played in two FIFA World Cups alongside Hejduk, McBride noted that it was more than the San Diego native's on-field performance in Black & Gold that earned him the recognition.
"I feel very honored to be up there, but Frankie's name definitely needs to be up there," said McBride. "I'm glad to see it. He's a special guy, as everybody knows. He's a great person, soccer player and you're never going to have a dull time with Frankie."
Despite being arguably the two most recognizable figures in club history, McBride and Hejduk played just 20 matches together in Columbus during the 2003 season. After joining the rival Chicago Fire in 2008 following a stint overseas, McBride gained even more respect for the tireless defender as a competitor.
"You never had a play off," he said of playing against Hejduk. "If you went up against Frankie, whether it was in a game or in training even, you knew that there wasn't a time you could just say 'Alright, I'm going to take a touch and he's not going to be right there.' It's infectious, just like he's infectious with the crowd. It translates to the teammates. It translates to what he epitomizes as a player. That's intensity. You always loved having Frankie on your team.
"Though we're good friends, he kicked me plenty of times we weren't on a team."
Now, after a long history that began in 1996 on the U.S. Men's National Team, the two Crew legends of separate eras in club history will now remain as permanent fixtures in the club's Circle of Honor. Going forward, McBride and Hejduk shall be the beacons that every player that dons the Black & Gold strives to be. The on-field leadership and prowess, along with the legends' character, provide the benchmark for future inductees.
"Just knowing Frankie and, of course, his family for so long, you just know they're very genuine, special people," McBride said.
"Frankie deserves this more than anybody."