Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed that their American goalkeeper, Brad Friedel, will retire from professional football at the end of the current season.
The news was revealed via the team’s official Twitter feed:
Accompanying the announcement was a statement from the veteran stopper, per the Tottenham website:
I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved in my career. When I first started the journey I never imagined it would be this long, playing 23 seasons in total and representing some incredible clubs.
One thing I will miss is that day-to-day interaction with the staff and players. There really is nothing like it but my 44th birthday is here so I think it is a good time to call it a day. I’ve got some wonderful opportunities in front of me working for Fox TV and I’m completing my pro licence.
I’ve also signed on as a Club Ambassador for Spurs focusing on the USA. I’ve got a great relationship with the staff and Board, so I’ll certainly do my bit to help the club go further.
I’ve had a tremendous time here and met a lot of great people along the way. This is a wonderful football club and I feel honoured to have been a part of it for four years.
The manager is great, while there is incredible talent in the changing room, both young and old and with time I see great things ahead.
Friedel—who is 43 years old—will hang up his gloves after an illustrious playing career, during which he has represented Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa. The Ohio-born stopper also played for his country a whopping 82 times.
Bleacher Report UK paid tribute to his marvellous career:
At his best, Friedel was one of the standout goalkeepers in English football. He was a commanding presence between the sticks and a stunning shot-stopper, and he boasted superb distribution. The fact that Spurs have kept him on their books well past his 40th birthday is a measure of what he offers aside from his fundamental playing qualities too.
After all, Friedel boasts an almost incomparable amount of experience to pass on to other players, per OptaJoe:
The best years of Friedel’s career arguably came during his time at Ewood Park. At Blackburn, he was an immovable figure in the goalkeeper’s jersey, and in 2002, he picked up the Man of the Match award in Rovers’ League Cup final victory against Spurs, per Paul Wilson of the Guardian.
Phil McNulty of BBC Sport thinks that other clubs could have utilised his talents better too:
Another hallmark of his game was an astounding level of consistency. During his time with Blackburn, Villa and Spurs, Friedel racked up an astonishing 310 consecutive Premier League appearances between 2004 and 2012, a record that stands to this day, per the Independent.
Arguably his finest hour on the international scene came during the 2002 World Cup. Friedel was a key component in a United States team that made a surprise run to the quarter-finals of the tournament, turning in a string of exemplary performances between the sticks.
Here's a reminder of some of his best moments from that major tournament:
While his influence on the field has naturally dwindled as he’s approached and surpassed the twilight of his career, Friedel has been a figure synonymous with the Premier League for almost two decades. But given the incredible impact he had during his spell in English football, he’s not a player who will be forgotten in a hurry.