After signing a one-year deal in June to remain with Tottenham Hotspur and extend his career for another season, 43-year-old Brad Friedel has spoken of his desire to go into coaching upon retirement.
Having joined Liverpool in 1997 from local MLS club the Columbus Crew, the American goalkeeper would go on to establish himself as a Premier League stalwart, making 450 appearances between spells at Anfield, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa and Tottenham, with a record run of 310 starts from 2004 to 2012.
Currently gearing up for what’s likely to be his swansong season on Spurs’ North American tour, the 82-times capped international has recently completed his UEFA A license for coaching and admits that he is already thinking about life in management, whether back home in MLS or in Europe.
‘You never say never to that,’ he said about coaching in the States. ‘But when you look at stepping into coaching, it doesn’t matter what country it’s in; the city has to work. I have a family. I have three kids, and the owner, the director of football and general manager all have to fit in place.
‘But would I keep my options open for that? Absolutely. I would never, never turn away a conversation about it.’
After beginning his club career with Turkey’s Galatasaray in 1995, Friedel moved backed to the US the next year to play for the Crew for a season before his transfer to Liverpool, and stresses how much the league has grown in the meantime.
‘At the time that I made a choice to go over to Europe, Europe was a far better league than MLS, and I don’t think anyone would deny that,’ he said.
‘Now when you see the likes of Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey coming back here in the prime of their career, you can see that there are a few clubs over here that are very strong and very competitive. That wasn’t around when I was making the choice.’
Set to be third-choice at White Hart Lane this season, following the signing of Swansea City’s Michel Vorm, Friedel’s playing career is unlikely to end with great fanfare but, for a veteran who was so highly-regarded during his heyday, there are sure to be numerous potential suitors when he does indeed swap his gloves for a tracksuit.
Reported to have interviewed for the vacant head coaching role at his former club Columbus last October, MLS sides will no doubt see him as a worthy managerial candidate, but one wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a few English teams being interested in his services either, given his standing in the game.