When the Chicago Fire traded for midfielder Dax McCarty it surprised many around Major League Soccer.
McCarty had been with the New York Red Bulls for five and a half seasons and served as the team's captain in recent years. He was a central figure in the club's identity and success (2013 and 2015 Supporters' Shield winners). His departure was devastating to many fans and came at a busy time in McCarty's life.
He got married two days before the trade and had just arrived with the U.S. national team for the annual January camp that takes place during the MLS offseason and largely features domestically based players.
On Sunday McCarty took to Twitter to thank Red Bulls fans in a lengthy note.
McCarty says he was blindsided by the trade.
"I have been in the league long enough to know how things work, yet somehow I was still surprised," McCarty said in the note. "I've been sitting here for a week trying to process everything, and I still can't quite come up with the words to describe how I'm feeling."
McCarty then thanked his teammates, the support staff with the Red Bulls, Red Bulls fans and his wife.
"To the fans: Thank you for giving me 5 1/2 of the best years of my life," he wrote.
The note is similar to what Harry Shipp tweeted after the Fire traded the Lake Forest native to the Montreal Impact. Shipp was again traded this offseason, to reigning MLS Cup champion Seattle.
One difference between the two is that Shipp mentioned being excited to join Montreal. McCarty made no mention of Chicago or the Fire.
"It will be weird stepping onto the field at Red Bull Arena as an opponent, but I'll always cherish the memories we made together, as a family," McCarty wrote. "If you could do me one huge favor and not chant "metro reject" when I come back, I would greatly appreciate it."
Metro reject is an old chant for former players in reference the club's previous name, New York/New Jersey Metrostars. The Fire visit Red Bull Arena on April 29.
The Fire open preseason training on Monday, although McCarty won't be there because he is still in camp with the national team.