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Dax McCarty admits 'crazy thought' of taking sabbatical after trade to Fire

Chicago Fire midfielder Dax McCarty said he briefly had the "crazy thought" of taking a sabbatical from his playing career following his surprise trade from the New York Red Bulls in January.

McCarty had just joined up late with the U.S national team training camp after getting married on a Saturday and then learned he had been traded on Monday.

The 29-year old initially said he was "blindsided" by the move and later criticized the Red Bulls for how they handled the deal after he had been a key part of their midfield for five years.

And he told ESPN FC's Max & Herc podcast that he had briefly considered stepping away from soccer after breaking the news to his bride.

"A lot of emotions run through your mind," McCarty said. "A lot of things run through your head, and one thing that ran through my head that I haven't really told anyone is that if this wouldn't have been agreeable with my wife, who had a great job in New York, if she wouldn't have wanted to move [to Chicago], then I would have had to make some really tough decisions.

"Would this be something where I just say I'm in the prime of my career and I take a little break from soccer and I stay in New York with her, or what do I do?

"The things that run through your head -- in the moment it's because you're so emotional, but then at the end of the day you realize that they were never realistic possibilities and you realize that your love for the game is too great.

"I've moved on and I'm happy with the situation now. I'm happy with trying to rebuild a Chicago Fire that definitely wants to get back to winning ways."

McCarty said his family had been in the forefront of his mind when he was trying to adjust to the trade, but he eventually came to accept his new situation.

"It was never something that I actually realistically considered, it was something that passed through my head when my wife and I were processing everything and she was very upset about the news," he added.

"It was something where I told her: 'Listen, we have to approach this together. My life and my career, it's not just about me anymore.'

"It's about a family, making sure that the woman you have to spend the rest of your life with is happy, because if she's miserable you're going to be miserable too, right?

"It was a very brief thought where I asked her about how she felt about it and what she wanted to do in terms of her job, in terms of our lifestyle in the city.

"I would say that it was never a realistic possibility but the crazy thought did kind of pass through my head that hey, sometimes you've gotta do what you've gotta do to make your loved ones happy. Yeah, it was kind of a crazy thought there for a second, but never a realistic possibility."

McCarty said he was "angry" because he had been looking forward to preparing for preseason with the Red Bulls, which was just weeks away, but it helped that he was already in camp playing in the national team.

"It was a little bit of a shock to the system," he said. "I think that originally it was good that I was in national team camp when I found out about it. It was a good way to keep my mind off things.

"But after national team camp I came into Chicago and I embraced it with open arms. These are the realities of the league we play in, of MLS. Every year, teams try to improve and get better."

The trade was the third of McCarty's career after 10 seasons in MLS. After coming in with FC Dallas, he was taken by Portland in the 2010 expansion draft and immediately dealt to D.C. United, which named him captain at the start of next season but then traded him to the Red Bulls that June.

And while McCarty admitted he wished misfortune on D.C., he couldn't say the same about the Red Bulls after leaving New York.

"I was watching D.C. thinking: 'Man, I hope they lose,'" he said. "I wasn't on the team that long. I didn't have the connections that I had in New York. The trade, I was upset because they told me: 'Hey, we're gonna build the team around you and a couple of young guys and we want to take D.C. back to the glory days' and all this stuff, and then you get traded after four or five months.

"And you're just thinking to yourself: 'Man, that's pretty harsh' -- but that's the reality of the business.

"Now when it comes to watching the Red Bulls I'm such good friends with guys on the team, I have so much love for that organization, that it's hard for me to root against them.

"Some people might believe me, some people might think I'm full of crap, but I'm hoping that they do well."

Related Video
Max & Herc: World Cup bid and Dax McCarty
Max & Herc: World Cup bid and Dax McCarty
The guys discuss the joint 2026 World Cup bid with ESPN's Sam Borden, and Dax McCarty opens up about his trade to Chicago.

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