Brad Friedel has had an illustrious career at every level he has ever played the game. Whether it was winning a state championship in high school, the NCAA championship in college, playing for the United States Men’s National Team in the World Cup or playing against the giants of England in the English Premier League, Friedel’s career has been an impressive one.
Here are ten of his greatest moments.
1990 NCAA championship
As a freshmen at UCLA, Friedel had shutouts in both the semifinals and finals of the NCAA tournament, saving penalties in both matches, to lead the Bruins to a national championship.
1992 Hermann Trophy
An award not known to many outside of the United States, and to be frank, not known to many Americans outside the soccer world, the Hermann Award is the soccer equivalent to the Heisman Trophy.
Friedel won the award as America’s top college player in 1992.
1995 Copa America
Friedel led the U.S. to a surprising 4th place finish at the prestigious Copa America, saving two penalties in the U.S.’s quarterfinal victory over Mexico.
1997 Move to England
After several earlier attempts to move to England with Nottingham Forest, Newcastle and Sunderland fell through over work permit issues, Friedel finally secured a move to the English Premier League with Liverpool in 1997.
Friedel says the best moment of his career was “the day I finally received my work permit to play in England. If I didn’t get that, there would be no other moments.”
Since his move to England, Friedel has arguably become the most consistent, and certainly the most durable, goalkeeper in the EPL over the last decade.
2002 League Cup Final – Man of the Match
In a 2-1 victory over Tottenham, Friedel was named Man of the Match as he led Blackburn Rovers to the 2002 League Cup.
2002 World Cup
The 2002 World Cup was the U.S.’s most successful run in the modern era and Friedel was key to the team’s success.
Nicknamed “the human wall” by some fans during the tournament, Friedel saved two penalties in his five games as the U.S. defeated Portugal, Mexico and nearly Germany.
2002-03 EPL Season
In the 2002 season, coming off his sensational World Cup, Friedel was named Blackburn’s Player of the Year and to the Professional Footballers’ Association Team of the Year.
2005 Retirement from the United States Men’s National Team
Tired of the constant travel between England and North America during the 2006 World Cup qualifying cycle, Friedel called it quits for the Nats on Feb. 7, 2005.
Being rotated with Kasey Keller in the U.S. lineup no doubt played a part in his decision as well, as in some cases Friedel traveled across the pond to sit and watch from the bench.
Friedel retired from the team with 82 caps.
2008 Consecutive Appearances Record
With over 400 appearances in the Premier League, Brad Friedel has established himself as one the league’s most consistent goalkeepers.
More impressively, however, Friedel has started every single game in the Premier League going back to the 2003-4 season in a streak that has set the record for consecutive starts in the EPL, the soccer equivalent of Cal Ripken and Brett Favre’s accomplishments.
2011 Move to Tottenham
Following years of success of Blackburn and Aston Villa, Friedel made the move to Champions League contender Tottenham this summer and has been a key to their success this season.
So far, Friedel has nine shutouts and Tottenham sit third in the league, a shocking 10 points ahead of perennial title contenders Chelsea and Arsenal.
John D. Halloran