Brad Friedel Inspires America’s Next Rising Soccer Stars
SoccerToday spoke with USMNT Head Coach Brad Friedel on his experience in the game, his passion for giving back to the game of soccer and the direction he is taking the U.S. 19 MNT.
Soccer News: Former United States Men’s National Team goalkeeper Brad Friedel remains a huge influence in American soccer – Now the U19 MNT Head Coach, he works on grooming players for the first team.
Recently, Friedel was selected by Allstate to help work with inner city soccer loving kids and go on tour with the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup™ Trophy. SoccerToday interviewed Friedel on the changes in American youth soccer and why he feels it is so important to give back to the sport he loves.
Doing Good In The Soccer World
Allstate has teamed up with legendary goalkeepers Adolfo Ríos, Tony Meola and Brad Friedel and is refurbishing neglected inner-city soccer fields to create safe havens, providing passionate soccer fans of all ages the opportunity to enjoy the sport they love.
Allstate also has donated new soccer equipment — upgrading bleachers and even performing field maintenance to provide a real opportunity to bring derelict soccer fields back to life.
“For me, there is nothing more inspiring than young goalkeepers who have a passion for the game,” said Friedel. “Working with Allstate provides me the opportunity to foster the love these kids have for the sport so that their passion can continue to grow.”
Working with these legendary goalkeepers, Allstate hosts special clinics for local youth goalkeepers on the newly outfitted fields.
“This is work I take great pride in,” said Friedel. “It is great to put a smile on a kids face — and that is what Allstate is doing. Allstate has backed soccer for years, and their efforts in underserved areas — creating safe havens — makes a difference. It all helps.”
Allstate was also sponsor of the CONCACAF Gold Cup Tournament for the second time and was the Official Protector of the Gold Cup Trophy.
As protector, the brand took the trophy on a tour to select cities around the U.S. during the tournament and gave fans the opportunity to interact and take photos with the coveted trophy while encouraging them to post on social media using #ProtectTheCup.”
Do You Know Enough About Brad Friedel’s Playing Past?
With Freidel’s experience playing 82 games for the USMNT between 1992-2005 plus suiting up for three FIFA World Cup tournaments, he is the perfect U19 Men’s National Team head coach — able to pave the path to raise the bar on American soccer performance.
Friedel has an impressive history — for more details, read our BRAD FRIEDEL – AMERICAN SOCCER HERO
In the beginning of 2016, Friedel was named the United States U19 Men’s National Team head coach and has worked closely with the U.S. Soccer Development Academy (DA), often selecting the majority of his roster from DA pools.
This year, Friedel won the 2017 CONCACAF U20 Championship as assistant coach of the U.S. team with Tab Ramos and Omid Namazi.
How Has Youth Soccer Changed?
“The landscape in youth soccer has completely changed for the better since I played — and we are producing better players than ever before. Today’s youth soccer clubs are better than the ones in the mid 90’s when I was a youth soccer player,” said Friedel. “Our youths are technically better at younger ages than in past decades and the Federation scouts talent all across our country.”
“Today’s youth soccer clubs are better than the ones in the mid 90’s when I was a youth soccer player,” said Friedel. “Our youths are technically better at younger ages than in past decades and the Federation scouts talent all across our country.”
Friedel is aware that the current youth soccer world can be tough on its players — and sometimes coaches fail to remember they are responsible for developing lifelong fans of the beautiful game,
“If players don’t enjoy playing soccer, they are going to stop.”
“It is a whole new landscape with the U.S. Soccer Development Academy creating a positive, competitive environment for player development and now with the Girls DA launching this fall — soccer keeps growing in the USA, and the quality is constantly improving,” said Friedel.
Player development has a clearer agenda than in past years — with clear guidelines coming down from U.S. Soccer. While in the past, coaches could often be heard from the sidelines yelling direction at players — those days are receding. The new school of thought is that coaches talk during training and watch the impact of their efforts during games, discovering what players have absorbed in practice and what they need to work on before the next match.
“Let the kids play and you will see what they absorbed while they perform in the weekend’s games,” said Friedel.
“It is like school; you learn during class and then you take a test — the games are the test.”
“The MLS is growing, sponsors are willing to put more money — and, together, we are all working to help make soccer the preeminent sport in the USA,” said Friedel.
“Growing soccer in the USA is all encompassing. It is not a one person job, it is everyone working together.”
RELATED NEWS: BRAD FRIEDEL – AMERICAN SOCCER HERO