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Remember when Brad Friedel used to get playing time for Tottenham?

Jan 4, 2014, 5:05 PM EDT

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At this time last year, there were still a few smoldering embers of a goalkeeper competition around White Hart Lane, with Hugo Lloris having only recently gotten his feet firmly established in the starting goalkeeper’s position.

That’s the position he took from Brad Friedel, remember?

I was thinking about that Saturday as Lloris lined up once again for Spurs, this time in the FA Cup as Tottenham faced off with its bitter North London rival, Arsenal. Wasn’t there just a little voice inside every U.S. soccer supporter wondering if perhaps, just maybe, new manager Tim Sherwood would give the former U.S. international a start? Spurs (and Lloris, naturally) had been quite busy late, after all?

But there was Lloris once again, standing sentinel in what turned out to be Tottenham’s FA Cup ouster.

To be clear, Lloris is the right choice. Even Friedel said so as the 2013-14 campaign kicked off. It was also inevitable once Lloris, 26, arrived last year from Lyon for $19 million in the summer of 2012. Besides, Lloris is far better suited to play the style Spurs desire, with defenders positioned in such a high line.

Friedel has played this year, but sparingly, with just seven starts so far. With Spurs now out of the League Cup and the FA Cup (although still in Europa League), the opportunities will dwindle further unless Lloris turns up injured.

All of this is why it would be so great to see Friedel make a return to MLS for 2014. He wants to coach, and history has taught us that the best chance of coaching success in MLS comes attached to those who “get the league,” those who understand the league’s quirky ways.

There are maybe 6-8 MLS clubs that wouldn’t see an improvement in their goalkeeping situations with Friedel on the roster. Even in places where a solid, well-regarded  youngster is in place (Chicago, D.C. United, Colorado to name three), couldn’t the long-term be well-served by having Friedel around for a year to show the “kid” how it’s done?

Of course, there’s a salary consideration here. A club would have to convince Friedel to take a pay cut – and maybe that’s something the former international doesn’t want. Still, it’s all worth talking about, eh?

  1. bellerophon30 - Jan 5, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    Didn’t Friedel declare bankruptcy a couple of years ago? His academy failed, if I recall correctly. So he probably can’t take a pay cut, whether he wants more playing time or not. Plus, I know he wants to get into managing in Europe, and right now he’s in the best place for that, I believe he’s almost finished getting his final badges.

  2. schmutzdeck - Jan 5, 2014 at 3:33 PM

    Mr. Steve,

    There are lots of American coaches in MLS.

    Friedel may well play a year or two in MLS but I hope he then goes back to Europe like Berhalter did and gets a managing job.

    Then he can establish his credentials and hopefully work his way up to Bob Bradley’s level.
    It has been pointed out frequently how frequently foreign managers don’t do well in MLS because they don’t know the ins and outs of what is a pretty unorthodox league. Not to mention adjusting to working in a foreign culture.

    The same rationale applies to Americans looking to manage in Europe.

    The next Americans to follow BB’s example will likely be retired internationals who had long careers in Europe and thus established the necessary understanding and contacts over there. Guys like Berhalter, Friedel, Dolo, Boca, MB90 maybe even McBride or Gooch.

    • Sgc - Jan 5, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      Right. Friedel’s ancient, and I think he knows he’s done, except for the occasional spot duty. He’s staying at Tottenham to facilitate a coaching career (and the money’s pretty damn good for a transition period).

      I, probably like you, will lay odds that the first American-trained guy to coach in a Big 4 league in Europe will be one who played there, and especially one that established a long tenure at the same club he winds up coaching. So you’d be talking about McBride and Friedel with an inside track compared to most.

      And say what we might as MLS fans about that, such a job is going to be a big prize (there will only be one ‘first’). One can’t really argue with Friedel if he chooses to put any US ambitions behind that goal.

  3. hightopandrocket - Jan 5, 2014 at 11:48 PM

    Dear Lord, the man is 40 something, are you really asking why he’s not getting time? He’s a American legend, let him retire without silly questions…

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