After a 23-year professional football career, including seventeen years playing in England, Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Brad Friedel has announced that he is retiring from football at the end of the 2014-15 season. Spurs made the announcement via Tottenham's official website and Twitter account on Thursday, and also posted a video interview with Friedel.
Friedel is considered to be one of the best, if not the best, American goalkeeper of all time and was part of a string of top-flight American keepers that included Kasey Keller, Tim Howard, and Brad Guzan. A graduate of UCLA, he had a long career with clubs in the top flight of English football, including multi-year stints with Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa, and Tottenham. Internationally, he is the fourth most capped player in USMNT history, and was one of the stand-out performers in USA's run to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup in Korea & Japan.
Friedel started an amazing 310 straight matches in the EPL, the league record for consecutive starts. He was Tottenham's first choice keeper in the 2011-12 season and the beginning of the 2012-13 season until he was displaced by Hugo Lloris. This season Brad was Spurs' third choice keeper and his playing contract was set to expire at the end of the season, so this decision is not unexpected.
At the end of the season, Friedel will return to the USA where he will begin a job as a soccer analyst and broadcaster for FOX Sports. He will remain connected to Tottenham Hotspur as a Club Ambassador to USA, where he will work to connect American Tottenham fans to the club in an official capacity. His role with Spurs will include "supporting our Global Coaching programme and engaging with our Super Clubs in Tallahassee and East Bay and 40 Supporters Clubs across North America."
In quotes on Tottenham's official club website, Friedel said the following:
"I'm incredibly proud of what I've achieved in my career. 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. I've got some wonderful opportunities in front of me working for Fox TV and I'm completing my pro licence.
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 honored to have been a part of it for four years."
It's always a little sad when a player hangs up his boots, and as an American football fan it's particularly bittersweet to see someone as accomplished as Friedel end his career. Thanks for your service to American soccer and to Tottenham Hotspur, Brad. Godspeed in your new roles and here's to whatever comes next.