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Bradley Howard Friedel (born May 18, 1971) is an American soccer goalkeeper who plays for Aston Villa 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. He is the current holder of the Premier League record for most consecutive appearances with 201 and counting.

Youth and college

Born in Lakewood, Ohio, Friedel grew up in Bay Villagemarker, where he attended Westerly Elementary School, Bay Middle School and Bay High Schoolmarker. Growing up, Friedel played several sports, including soccer, basketball and tennis and excelling in all three. 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 UCLAmarker'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.[61646]

Friedel played college soccer at the University of California, Los Angelesmarker (UCLA). 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

Early career

Friedel left UCLA early to pursue a professional career. He began by attempting to sign with Nottingham Forest F.C. under Brian Clough, 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 United States 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 an English 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. In July 1996, following the end of the Turkish season, Friedel moved to the Columbus Crew of MLS. As he arrived mid-season, he initially served as a back up to starter Bo Oshoniyi, but by the end of the season, had managed to play nine games with a 0.78 goals against average. In February 1997, he signed a three year contract with the Crew as he was named the team's starter. That season he was selected to the MLS Best XI and named the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year.


Liverpool decided to purchase his contract from the Crew for $1.7 million in 1997 after being impressed by his performances. On December 23, 1997, Liverpool gained a work permit for Friedel on appeal after the first request was denied. He made his debut against Aston Villa on February 28, 1998. While Friedel had some initial success with the Reds, he soon had a difficult time, managing just over thirty games in almost three years, including two appearances in the UEFA Cup, as he sat behind starter Sander Westerveld.

Blackburn Rovers

He was signed to Blackburn Roversmarker by Graeme Souness on a free transfer in November 2000 after a work permit was secured. He has had consistent performances ever since joining during Rovers' promotion winning 2000-01 season. His assured performances ensured Blackburn's return to the Premiership and helped keep them there in the years after.

Memorable performances for Blackburn include playing against Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup Final in 2002 when he was named Man of the Match. In a 2-1 win over Arsenal at Highburymarker in late 2002, he made several immense saves and was only beaten by a deflected free kick but his phenomenal performance ensured Rovers held out for a surprise win, and in a 2-1 win against Fulham in the same season he saved a penalty kick amongst many other shots. A stunning performance away at Southampton, also in late 2002, prompted Gordon Strachan to liken him to Superman, "Friedel must have got changed in a telephone box. I wouldn't be surprised if when he takes his shirt off there's a blue jersey with an `S' on underneath it."

At the end of the 2002-03 season, Friedel was selected for the Premiership Starting XI for the fifteen 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. Friedel's goal equalised the game at 2-2, but seconds later Charlton scored again through Claus Jensen and went on to win the match 3-2. He became the second goalkeeper in Premier League history (excluding own goals) to score after Peter Schmeichel for Aston Villa in 2001.

Blackburn Rovers were playing an away game against Sheffield United on September 9, 2006, in the Barclays Premier League as Friedel saved two 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 five years have been down to injury and when he had to link up with the U.S. squad for the 2002 Football World Cup (Rovers had already avoided relegation).

Friedel extended his contract with Blackburn Rovers on April 14, 2006, stating his love for the club as a reason. Two years later, on February 5, 2008, he again signed an extension to his Rovers contract stating that "I am delighted to have extended the agreement. It was not a difficult decision to make. Blackburn Rovers is home to me. This is my club and I have a special affinity with it." He would, however, leave the club at the end of the season to join Aston Villa.

Aston Villa

Friedel had asked Blackburn Rovers for permission to let him speak with Aston Villa if an offer was accepted, with Manchester City reportedly interested in signing the American. The club accepted a transfer bid for Friedel, thought to be in the region of £2.5 million, subject to the club themselves having a bid accepted for a replacement goalkeeper.

Aston Villa were holding talks with Brad Friedel on July 25. Friedel signed a three-year contract with Aston Villa the day after. Friedel was unveiled at half time during Aston Villa's Intertoto Cup match against Odense.

He made his debut against Reading on August 2 at the Madejski Stadiummarker. Just ten 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 for Aston Villa on August 17, 2008, the first match for Aston Villa in the season 2008–09, in which Villa beat Manchester City 4-2 at home.

He broke the record for continuous games played in the Premier League on November 30, 2008, after his 167th finished in a 0-0 draw with Fulham. He was sent off against former club Liverpool at Anfieldmarker by referee Martin Atkinson. Liverpool were awarded a penalty that Steven Gerrard converted against Villa's second choice goalkeeper, Brad Guzan. Friedel's red card, which he received on the Sunday beforehand, was overturned by the FA on March 24, meaning that he was able to continue his streak of consecutive Premiership appearances. On the 31st October 2009 he reached the landmark of 200 consecutive league games.

International career

Friedel is the third most-capped goalkeeper in U.S. national team history and gained his first international cap against Canada in 1992, a game in which 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 victory over 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 kick 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.

Friedel announced his retirement from international football on February 7, 2005. In 2006, Friedel broke ground on his dream project, Premier Soccer Academies, a $10,000,000 project that will emulate player development facilities found worldwide, located in Lorain, Ohiomarker. The mission of Premier Soccer Academies is to provide athletes with world-class coaching and facilities regardless of their socioeconomic background.

Personal life

Friedel and his wife Tracy have two daughters, Izabella and Allegra.

Though raised in the Midwestern state of Ohiomarker, Friedel developed a slight English accent having lived in the north of the country for more than a decade. "The English don't think I have an accent at all. They think I sound American. And Americans think I sound English. I think I'm caught in the middle."

Friedel is a fan of the Cleveland Browns, an American football team which Aston Villa chairman Randy Lerner also owns.

He also names former American international goalkeeper Tim Harris as his all-time football hero. Friedel credits Harris as "the person who started my journey".

Friedel is mentioned in the Half Man Half Biscuit song "I Went To A Wedding ..." off their 2003 EP Saucy Haulage Ballads.

Career statistics




Blackburn Rovers

Aston Villa

1994-95 Brøndby Superliga 10 0

1995-96 Galatasaray Süper Lig 30 0 7 0

1996 Columbus Crew Major League Soccer 9 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 12 0
1997 29 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 33 0

1997-98 Liverpool Premier League 11 0 - - - 11 0
1998-99 12 0 - 2 0 2 0 16 0
1999-00 2 0 - 2 0 - 4 0
2000-01 Blackburn Roversmarker First Division 28 0 6 0 - - 34 0
2001-02 Premier League 36 0 3 0 6 0 - 45 0
2002-03 37 0 3 0 3 0 4 0 47 0
2003-04 36 1 1 0 1 0 2 0 40 1
2004-05 38 0 7 0 - - 45 0
2005-06 38 0 2 0 6 0 - 46 0
2006-07 38 0 6 0 1 0 8 0 53 0
2007-08 38 0 1 0 3 0 5 0 47 0
2008-09 Aston Villa Premier League 38 0 3 0 0 0 5 0 46 0
2009-10 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 0





  1. [1]
  2. MLS Player Register
  3. 1997 in Columbus Crew history
  4. December 20, 1997 New York Times
  5. Friedel Agrees to Rovers Deal
  6. Press Release
  7. [2]
  8. The Official Site of U.S. Soccer - Center Circle
  11. Brad Friedel | Aston Villa | Team | 1st Team Profiles

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