Former Tottenham and USA keeper Brad Friedel has hung up his gloves for a spot in the commentary booth, but it appears he'll also have a new side gig as a head coach. US Soccer today announced that Friedel has been appointed the newly-created position of USA U19 head coach. He was announced alongside Iranian-Amerian Omid Namazi, who is taking over USA's U17 squad.
"We are thrilled to bring on two guys who have such tremendous experience," said U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. "Brad Friedel played at the highest level for almost two decades, and his knowledge will be a huge benefit to our young players. Omid Namazi has not only been a professional player at all levels in the United States, he has worked as a coach both here and overseas which adds important perspective. They have both been assistant coaches in our Youth National Teams, so this is another important step in connecting the dots between our teams."
Friedel had a long career in England in the Premier League, playing for Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa, and Tottenham, and holds the record for most consecutive Premier League starts with 310. He's also considered one of the all-time best American goalkeepers, earning 82 caps and earning the nickname "The Human Wall" for his heroics in the 2002 World Cup. He retired from Spurs this summer and has been working as an analyst for Fox Sports since.
"I look forward to the opportunity to help develop our young players into professionals and full internationals," said Friedel. "The last four years I have focused my coaching at the academy and development levels, and I'm excited to work with the entire group of committed Youth National Team staff members to increase our levels of development here in the United States."
This appointment will be Friedel's first as a head coach at any level, though he's worked with USA youth teams in the past. The USA has never before had a U19 team, so this is a new development It's not yet clear how Friedel's team will interact with or supplement the USA U20 squad, coached by former USA international Tab Ramos. Friedel's first fixtures with his new team will take place at the end of the month at a tournament in the Canary Islands.