Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
One of the longest-tenured American soccer players is set to hang up his cleats, and gloves, at the end of the season.
Tottenham Hotspur announced on their official website that Brad Friedel will retire from playing at the end of the 2014/2015 season, ending a 21-year professional career. Friedel has spent the past four seasons with Tottenham after joining the club on a free transfer after his contract expired with Aston Villa at the end of the 2010/2011 season.
“I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved in my career,” Friedel told Tottenham’s website. “When I first started the journey I never imagined it would be this long, playing 23 seasons in total and representing some incredible clubs.
“One thing I will miss is that day-to-day interaction with the staff and players. There really is nothing like it but my 44th birthday is here so I think it is a good time to call it a day.”
Friedel, 43, has served as mainly the backup goalkeeper over the past two seasons and has been spending time coaching in the Tottenham youth set up as well as the U.S. youth national team set-up.
Friedel coached with Tab Ramos and the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team at the CONCACAF Championships last January and he’ll be on the coaching staff in New Zealand for the FIFA 2015 Under-20 World Cup later this month.
The retirement announcement includes Friedel’s future plans, which is to become a full-time analyst with FOX Sports, part-time coach with U.S. Soccer, and serve as a Tottenham ambassador in the USA and work with clubs that are affiliated with Tottenham in the USA.
“I’ve got some wonderful opportunities in front of me working for Fox TV and I’m completing my pro license,” Friedel said. “I’ve also signed on as a Club Ambassador for Spurs focusing on the USA. I’ve got a great relationship with the staff and Board, so I’ll certainly do my bit to help the club go further.
“I’ve had a tremendous time here and met a lot of great people along the way. This is a wonderful football club and I feel honoured to have been a part of it for four years.”
Friedel goes down as one of the top U.S. players, not just goalkeepers, in the history of American soccer. He holds the record for most consecutive starts in the English Premier League, with 310, which he earned between Aston Villa, Tottenham, and Blackburn, where he played for eight years between 2000 and 2008.
The Lakewood, Ohio-native also played one and a half seasons in MLS, after joining the Columbus Crew midway through the league’s inaugural season in 1996 from Galatasaray, before leaving at the end of the 1997 season to join Liverpool.
For the U.S. Men’s National Team, Friedel is 23rd all time with 82 caps in his career. Friedel served as the No. 1 goalkeeper for the U.S. during their impressive run to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals.
Friedel retired from international play in 2005.
What do you think of this news? What are your favorite memories of Friedel? Where does he go down in U.S. Soccer history?
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