This is quite a timely piece of analysis from Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Brad Friedel.
Following the USA’s exit from the U-20 World Cup yesterday, the evergreen EPL veteran waded into the discussion about how young soccer players should be developed in the USA, when speaking at a coaching camp in California.
Friedel, 42, is completing his UEFA A license and wants to move into a managerial or technical director role.
It seems as if the former USMNT ‘keeper has a pretty good idea of how to shake the US soccer system up, in order to help develop more talented young players.
“We have far too big a population here in the United States not to be producing more talent,” Friedel said. “Yes, we are light years ahead of where we were when I was a youth player. A lot of good things have happened, but I still think there needs to be a lot more focus on coaching at the grassroots level.”
Quite how that happens is anybody’s guess but at least Friedel is throwing his ideas out there.
Tottenham’s veteran ‘keeper also shared a few of his secret’s to goalkeeping stardom and believes that is the “one position year in and year out where we’re [USA] very strong.”
Friedel has played more of a bit-part role at Spurs since French international Huge Lloris arrived from Lyon last season. But Friedel is all about the team and individual improvement and believes that mantra should be shared across US soccer to try and help top quality young players
“I’ve been to so many states here and all the parents are so concerned about is winning, winning, winning,” Freidel said. “Winning is irrelevant when you’re 11 or 12 years old. It really is it. At youth tournaments, I look at the technical ability of the players. Whether the team wins or loses — I don’t care.”
So as Tab Ramos’ men take stock of the US U-20’s failure at the FIFA World Cup, can Friedel’s thoughts help US soccer to try and develop one of the world’s best youth programs?
It seems like they’ve tried pretty much everything else down in Bradenton, so why not ask Brad to share his thoughts and expertise when he hangs up the gloves in the next few years. You could do a lot worse than listening to a 16-year EPL veteran.
Fascinating insight from one of America’s best ever goalkeepers.