(CBS) Nearly two months after he was acquired by the Chicago Fire, star German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger is enjoying both his new city and the new league he’s playing in.
Schweinsteiger believes it’s part of his responsibility as an international star to help reinvigorate MLS and help it grow.
“I see huge potential for the league and also for America,” Schweinsteiger said in an interview with Laurence Holmes on 670 The Score on Monday night. “In my eyes, ice hockey, basketball, American football, baseball — you are the best. But in a global sport like soccer, you’re not on the highest level. You’re actually such a big country that likes to win, and I would like to help MLS develop in the right direction — (and in turn) that you have an American national team that’s ready to win a World Cup. There, you just have to change or work on some little things, you know, to make it happen.
“It’s a process. It’s not happening in one day or one year. But let’s say in 10 years, maybe it’s possible to keep players from America in the MLS, to get some (top) players from Europe to the MLS, to come (to) the same kind of level like the Premier League or La Liga or the Bundesliga. It is possible, and I hope it’s going to happen.”
A World Cup champion and eight-time Bundesliga champion, Schweinsteiger came was acquired by the Fire in late March from the Manchester United of the Premier League in England. He left Manchester amid turmoil with manager Jose Mourinho, who yanked Schweinsteiger from the starting lineup and used him infrequently.
“I was looking forward to playing soccer, playing more minutes on the pitch and I didn’t have the chance to play more minutes in Manchester,” Schweinsteiger. “So I came here to the Chicago Fire.
“I was healthy. It was something else, but you know sometimes, you just have to accept what the manager or the club decides. Then you have to accept it and just keep going. And that’s what I did.”
Schweinsteiger hopes his winning pedigree rubs off on the Fire, who currently reside in the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 15 points. Schweinsteiger has two goals in seven games.
“I just want to help, first of all, the Chicago Fire to grow, to change the mentality to a winning team and to reach the playoffs,” Schweinsteiger said. “That’s my goal. But also to change the game style into a team which is able to control every opponent.”
Listen to Schweinsteiger’s full interview below.