Bradley Howard Friedel was born on May 18th, 1971 in Lakewood, Ohio. At youth level, he excelled in several sports, including soccer, basketball, hockey and tennis. Upon graduating from Bay Village High School in 1989, he joined UCLA on a soccer scholarship. As a freshman, he was selected as the starting goalkeeper and in his three years there, he helped the Bruins to a NCAA Championship, twice being named first team All-American goalkeeper. In addition, he won the prestigious Hermann Trophy for the leading College soccer player and was named to the College Soccer Team of the Century.
Friedel represented the US Men’s Olympic Team in Barcelona in 1992 and was then selected for the USA’s national team as the country hosted its first World Cup in 1994. Following that tournament, he signed for leading Turkish team, Galatasary. In 1996 he returned home to Ohio to play for the Columbus Crew in the newly formed Major League Soccer (MLS). In 1997 he was selected to the MLS Best XI and named the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. His performances for the Crew and the US National team led to him fulfilling a long-term ambition to play in the English Premier League; when in 1997, he signed for Liverpool.
On February 28th 1998 at age 26, he made his Premier League debut for the Reds against Aston Villa. Later that year he made his World Cup Finals debut at France ’98 against Yugoslavia. In 2000 he signed on for Blackburn Rovers, and immediately helped the Lancashire club to promotion back to the Premier League. In 2002 he was ever-present for the US team at the World Cup in Japan-South Korea. After a series of brilliant performances, including saving 2 penalties in one game in normal time against hosts South Korea, the first goalkeeper to do so in a World Cup Finals game since 1974; he was nicknamed the “Human Wall” by USA fans and media. He helped the US reach the Quarter Finals, its best ever World Cup performance.
At Blackburn he established himself as one of the most consistent and best goalkeepers in the League. In 2002 he was a member of the Rovers team that won the League Cup, beating Tottenham in the Final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, a game in which he was named Man of the Match. At the end of that season, he received one of the greatest accolades in the game, being named by his fellow professionals to the Premier League Team of the season for 2002/3. In 2005 with 82 US caps, he retired from international football, to focus on his club career.
After 357 appearances for Blackburn Rovers, including a game against Charlton Athletic, in which he became one of only 4 goalkeepers in Premier League history to score in open play, he joined Aston Villa in 2008. There he continued his excellent form, and his run of consecutive appearances, which had begun at the start of the 2004/5 season. After 3 seasons as an ever-present at Villa, he joined Tottenham Hotspur at the start of the 2011/12 season, helping the club to fourth position in his first season, its joint highest place finish in 21 years. Brad continued this remarkable run of not having missed a Premier League start in over 8 years, and in his second season at Spurs, at the age of 41, he started his 310th consecutive game in the Premier League against Manchester United at Old Trafford. He was in outstanding form, helping his team to a 3-2 win, its first at Old Trafford in 34 years. It is unlikely that this record of 310 games will be broken.
Friedel continues to work passionately on developing the next generation of American players. In June 2013, Friedel hosted the first 310 Goalkeeping Clinic with Tottenham Hotspur FC and his current equipment sponsor, Under Armour, in Baltimore and San Francisco. Having become respected as an eloquent and erudite football pundit for various international television networks including Fox, the BBC, Al Jazeera, Setanta, and RTÉ Ireland; Brad agreed to work exclusively for Fox Sports in the US as one of its leading soccer analysts. In addition, he holds the UEFA A Coaching License and is currently part of a select group undergoing the UEFA Pro License, the game’s highest coaching qualification.
Friedel has played 586 first class games in England and has a total of 668 club appearances worldwide. At 43 years old, he is the oldest active player in the Premier League. He currently lives in London with his wife Tracy and their 3 children.