|Full Name:||Bradley Howard Friedel|
|Date of Birth:||May 18, 1971 (age 36)|
|Place of Birth:||Lakewood, Ohio, U.S.|
|Height:||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
Bradley "Brad" Howard Friedel (born May 18, 1971 in Lakewood, Ohio) is an American international football (soccer) goalkeeper who plays for Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League. He played 82 games for the United States national team between 1992 and 2005, and represented his country at three FIFA World Cup tournaments.
Friedel grew up in Bay Village, Ohio, where he attended Westerly Elementary School, Bay Middle School and Bay High School. Growing up, Friedel played several sports, including soccer, basketball and tennis and excelled in all three sports. He earned Bay High's Outstanding Athlete of the Year award in 1989. As an All-State basketball player in Ohio, he was invited to try out as a walk-on for UCLA's basketball team in 1990. He began as a forward on his youth soccer team before moving into goal. Friedel graduated from Bay High in 1989. His mother, Sue Friedel, was adviser to the high school girls' kick and flag lines, the Rockettes and Junior Rockettes.
Friedel studied at UCLA where he was a member of the men's soccer team. Over his three seasons at UCLA (1990-1992), he established himself as one of the greatest collegiate goalkeepers. In 1990, he backstopped the Bruins to the NCAA championship. He was selected as the first team All American goalkeeper in 1991 and 1992 and won the Hermann Trophy in 1992 as the top collegiate soccer player. SoccerAmerica magazine named Friedel to its College Team of the Century.Professional career
Friedel left UCLA early to pursue a professional career. He began by attempting to sign with Nottingham Forest F.C., but was denied a British work permit, the first in several such failed attempts to move to England. Instead, Friedel signed a contract with the United States Soccer Federation to play exclusively with the U.S. national team as it prepared for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Following the end of the cup, Friedel began searching for a professional club.
Friedel was signed by manager Kevin Keegan of Newcastle United, but was again denied a work permit. While awaiting approval from the British authorities, he practiced with Newcastle as an on loan player from USSF. When the work permit was not approved, Friedel negotiated a loan from USSF to Danish Superliga club Brøndby IF. He played for the club for several months, first as a back up to Mogens Krogh, then as a starter when Krogh expressed an interest in leaving the club. Friedel remained with Brøndby until he returned to the U.S. to rejoin the national team, then preparing for the 1995 U.S. Cup and Copa America.
After the two tournaments, Friedel attempted a third time to join a British club, this time Sunderland. However, when Friedel again failed to receive a British work permit, his agent negotiated a $1.1 million transfer from USSF to leading Turkish team Galatasaray in 1995. Galatasaray were managed by Friedel's future Blackburn manager Graeme Souness. He moved to the Columbus Crew of MLS in 1997, and on to English club Liverpool in 1998. At Liverpool he had a difficult time, managing just over 30 games in almost three years.
In November 2000, he was signed to Blackburn Rovers by Graeme Souness on a free transfer after a work permit was secured. He has had extremely consistent performances ever since joining during Rovers' promotion winning 2000-01 season. His assured performances ensured Blackburn's return to the Premiership.
Memorable performances in goal for Blackburn include playing against Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup Final in 2002. He was named Man of the Match after a string of incredible saves, a 2-1 win over Arsenal at Highbury in late 2002 when he made several immense saves. He was only beaten by a deflected free kick but his phenomenal performance ensured Rovers held out for a surprise win and a 2-1 win against Fulham in the same season when he saved a penalty kick amongst many other shots.
At the end of the 2002-03 season, Friedel was selected for the Premiership Starting XI for the 15 clean sheets he kept, earning himself the Blackburn Player of the Year award as well. On February 21, 2004, in an away game against Charlton Athletic, Friedel scored a goal from open play in the 90th minute, a rare occurrence for a goalkeeper. Friedel's goal equalised the game at 2-2, but seconds later Charlton scored again and went on to win the match 3-2. On September 9, 2006, Blackburn Rovers were playing an away game against Sheffield United in the Barclays Premier League and Friedel saved 2 penalties in this game also pulling off a string of saves, and the game finished up 0-0, with Friedel receiving the Man Of The Match award. The only games he has missed in the last 5 years have been down to injury and when he had to link up with the US squad for the 2002 Football World Cup (Rovers had already avoided relegation).
On April 14, 2006, Friedel extended his contract with Blackburn Rovers, stating his love for the club as a reason. Friedel captained Blackburn Rovers in their 3-1 victory over Newcastle United in the absence of club captain Ryan NelsenInternational career
Friedel is the third most-capped goalkeeper in U.S. national team history and gained his first international cap against Canada in 1992, in which game he managed to keep a clean sheet. He was the first choice goalkeeper for the U.S 1992 Olympic team; however, he was unable to beat out Tony Meola as first choice keeper for the U.S. team at the 1994 World Cup. His chance came, and Friedel made his World Cup debut in the 1998 World Cup where he conceded one goal as the U.S. lost to Yugoslavia. He lived up to his growing reputation in the 2002 World Cup as the U.S. went on a surprising run to the quarterfinals, which included a 3-2 defeat of Portugal in group play and a 2-0 second-round win over arch-rival Mexico before a loss to Germany (the eventual runner-up). He also became the first keeper to save two penalty kicks during regular play (as opposed to penalty shootouts) in a World Cup finals tournament since 1974. He was dubbed "The Human Wall" by fans during the spectacular 2002 World Cup run.
On February 7, 2005, Friedel announced his retirement from international football. Soon thereafter, he signed a new contract to finish his Premier League career with Blackburn. He also broke ground in 2006 on his dream project, Premier Soccer Academies, a $10,000,000 project that emulates player development facilities found worldwide, but in the United States. The mission of Premier Soccer Academies is to provide athletes with world-class coaching and facilities regardless of their socioeconomic background. It is located in Lorain, Ohio.On 18 July 2008, it was revealed by Blackburn Rovers that Friedel had asked permission to speak to Aston Villa if an offer was accepted, with both Aston Villa and Manchester City reportedly interested in signing the American shotstopper.
On 23 July 2008 Blackburn announced that the club had accepted a transfer bid for Friedel, thought to be in the region of £2.5m, subject to the club themselves having a bid accepted for a replacement goalkeeper. On 25 July it was confirmed that Aston Villa were holding talks with Brad Friedel. On 26 July it was confirmed he had signed a 3 year contract with Aston Villa. Friedel was unveiled at half time during Aston Villa's Intertoto Cup match against Odense BK.
On 2nd August Friedel made his uncompetitive debut against Reading F.C. at the Madejski Stadium. Just 10 minutes in the hosts were awarded a penalty which Friedel then saved. His competitive debut came in the UEFA Cup Second Qualifying Round, First Leg against Hafnarfjordur away from home. Villa won the match 4-1. Friedel played his first Premiership match Personal life He is married to Tracy and has two daughters, Izabella and Allegra.
- NCAA Champion 1990 with UCLA
- First Team All American - 1991, 1992 (Top University Goalkeeper)
- Hermann Trophy - 1992 (University Player of the Year)
- MLS Goalkeeper of the Year - 1997
- Bronze medal at 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup with the U.S.
- League Cup Winner with Blackburn Rovers - 2002
- U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year - 2002
- Blackburn Rovers Player of the Year - 2002-03
- Member of the PFA Premiership XI - 2002-03