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Former German international Frings enjoys MLS adventure

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BERLIN (Reuters) -- Whether playing on a rugged pitch surrounded by armed guards in Nicaragua or Mexico City's altitude, former Werder Bremen captain Torsten Frings said on Friday he was enjoying his first season in the North American Major League Soccer.

The 34-year-old midfielder, who won 79 caps for Germany and scored 10 goals, left Bremen in the close season to join Toronto FC in Canada.

"The level is obviously not as high as in the Bundesliga but it is not as bad as it is always made out to be. Everything is extremely professional. Especially in our club," Frings told his former club website ( during a visit on Friday.

"The problem is getting the top players into the league. That is because of the salary cap. That makes salaries low compared to European leagues."

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Frings, who joined former Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann at Toronto, where he is a consultant, said he had also enjoyed playing in the North American Champions League in places such as Mexico and Nicaragua.

"Altitude was a real problem. You don't really understand it unless you experience it. We lost that game 4-0 as the Mexicans were running around like rabbits and we looked like 80-year-old men," he said.

"Or when we played in Nicaragua. It was great. The grass was knee-high on the pitch. We were accompanied on to the pitch by men with machine guns to make sure it is safe to get it."