Friedelicious: Brad Friedel
Does Brad Friedel think he's better than everyone else? Well, the truth is, the American goalkeeper IS better than everyone. Sure, at times, with the borderline British accent and all, he can come across as a bit pompous. A bit like he thinks he’s better than everyone, but again, he is.
Truthfully though, if you’ve seen him in an interview he’s humble and loves to just play the game. He said recently in an EPL piece on Fox Soccer Channel that he now knows that he’s now at the tail end of his career and he wants to savor the games he plays in even more.
Friedel probably made the right decision in retiring from the United States national team, it was better for his career – not missing out on games in the EPL when playing in meaningless friendlies and just generally staying healthy. Which at his age becomes more difficult, even as a goalkeeper.
How does he stay healthy? He said he does Yoga twice a day, no wonder he can stretch for those balls heading towards the upper corner and redirect those low balls destined for the lower corner. Yoga you say in disbelief, even Roy Keane said he was doing Yoga to keep strong and prevent injuries when he was playing.
What has Brad Friedel done in the EPL? Well, he’s simply the Cal Ripken of the English game, as he’s totaled 167 games in a row – the most consecutive games of any player.
The 37-year-old, who started the streak in August 2004 with Blackburn, overtook the previous record set by Portsmouth's David James in April. He earned a third straight shutout in the 0-0 draw.
"Is it nice that I have been able to get a run of games? Yes, absolutely, but I hope to have many more games ahead of me," Friedel said. "I have never appeared in a game hoping to attain an appearance record. I appear because I am under contract to play football and I love football.
Will he ever return to the MLS? It’s hard to believe he actually played in the MLS it seems so long ago. But since Friedel runs a soccer school in Ohio I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a return to the MLS before he hangs up his boots for good and plays again for the Columbus Crew.
Before his career is over, one thing I do hope is Brad Friedel and Aston Villa finish in the top six so he can see some UEFA Cup or Champions League time. Right now, Aston Villa are, improbably, in third place as of December 26. So it is possibly that Friedel could play in some Champions League games next year.
And, to top off an already a amazing career for the UCLA graduate, would be a final call up for the World Cup in South Africa by Bob Bradley. His experience is just too valuable to ignore.
Extra: An ode to Friedel from SI.