Brad Friedel can easily be considered one of, if not the best, American goalkeeper in USMNT history. Friedel had an impressive career, considering the difficulty there was for Americans to play in Europe at that time. The former Galatasaray, Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa, and Tottenham Hotspur netminder played into his 40’s and was praised for his longevity and world class skill.
When it came to American soil, Friedel only had a pit stop in MLS playing less than a year for the Columbus Crew in 1996/97 and did represent the USMNT in three World Cup’s but really only starting in 2002 where the United States reached the quarterfinals. After that Friedel retired from the national team with over 80 caps.
After coaching the US U-19 team he did coach the New England Revolution in MLS for only 1 season and a half to poor results. Friedel took to BBC Radio to explain why things didn't work out with the Revs, focusing it on the players and their poor habits.
Brad Friedel bashes former New England Revolution players
In speaking with BBC Radio, Friedel stated, “I had players that came in with 24% body fat. Very few were under 10% body fat. It was remarkable to me. When I first went into the canteen, the whole fridge was full of Pepsi, Coke, Doritos, Cheetos, chocolate bars, and etc. I was asking where the fruits and vegetables?”
“So, I brought in one of the strength and conditioning coaches from Tottenham. And we brought in protein shakes. I provided breakfast and lunch. They weren’t allowed to leave until they ate because they were going out to eat McDonald’s and KFC.” The comments may raise a few eyebrows, but it has been mentioned by many, including in Tim Howard’s book that the early years of MLS the league was a free for all and at times lacked professionalism, something that has changed over the years according to many.
Friedel spoke about the lack of professional awareness for the team he coached in 2019 and stated, “I’ve never seen this in my life before, but I had two senior players sitting in a hot jacuzzi before training. I looked at the physio and asked what they are doing? Why is he letting them do it? They were sitting in a hot jacuzzi before training with a phone in their hand.”
Friedel went on to be fired from his job in New England with a poor 12-22-13 record, after that Bruce Arena was hired and the Revolution turned it around and last year were the league’s Support Shield champions.
This is not the first time Friedel has had a run in with American players, it was revealed in Tim Howard’s book that Friedel refused to write a recommendation letter for the young Howard to get a work permit to play for Manchester United, the reason? Friedel wanted to make a move to ManU and it was a “conflict of interest”. After the first printing that portion of Howard’s story was removed from the book.
While an exceptional goalkeeper Friedel has been rumored to have strained relationships with his goalkeeping counterparts on the national team mainly Kasey Keller and Tony Meola, two keepers who often battled with Friedel to have a spot on the national team.
ESPN soccer analyst and former New England Revolution player Taylor Twellman did tweet out that the former Revolution players on that squad have kept silent until now (about Friedel’s time at the club), but that could change now.