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Why Brad "The Human Wall" Friedel Is My All-Time Favorite Goalkeeper

Andrew Jordan@@Andrew_JordanSenior Writer INovember 17, 2009

BLACKBURN, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 07:  Brad Friedel of Aston Villa in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa at Ewood Park on February 7, 2009 in Blackburn, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Throughout the history of football, there have been many great goalkeepers. From Gordon Banks and Lev Yashin to Peter Schmeichel and Gianluigi Buffon, the world has been lucky to see many great keepers lead their team to victories.

However, my favorite keeper is not considered to be as great as these other keepers, but to me, Brad Friedel is my favorite keeper.

For those of you who don't know much about Friedel, here is a lookback of his career and what has made him such a great player to me.

Brad Friedel was born on May 18, 1971 in Lakewood, OH and excelled in basketball, tennis, and soccer while in High School before he went to UCLA to play soccer.

While at UCLA, he led them to a National Championship in 1990 and he was selected as the first team All-American goalkeeper in 1991 and 1992 and won the Herrman Trophy in 1992 as the top collegiate soccer player.

After college, Friedel applied to play for both Nottingham Forest and for Newcastle, but he was denied a British work permit to play for both clubs, and he left England for Denmark to play for Brøndby.

After failing to join Sunderland once again due to a Work Permit issue, Friedel joined Galatasaray for one year before moving to Major League Soccer to play for the Columbus Crew.

After a year with the crew, Liverpool came calling for the young American keeper and were able to gain Friedel a work permit as Friedel joined Liverpool.

However with Liverpool, Friedel wasn't able to get enough playing time to keep him satisfied and he moved to Blackburn Rovers in 2001.

In his first full year with Blackburn, Friedel was incredible, as he was able to keep the Rovers in the Premier League, and was also man of the match in the English League Cup final, in which Blackburn beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 to win the cup.

After the season concluded, Friedel joined the United States national team in the FIFA World Cup, which was located in Japan and South Korea.

During this World Cup, Friedel was the starting keeper for the Americans.

In the first game, Friedel was able to back the United States in an incredible 2-1 win over Portugal.

In the second game, the United States played against South Korea, who were the hosts of the tournament and in the first half, South Korea were awarded a penalty, but Lee Eul-Young's shot went right into Friedel, and South Korea were only able to get a late goal against Friedel.

In the next game against Poland, Poland won 3-1 but were once again got denied on a penalty by Friedel, as Maciej Zurawski's penalty was stopped by Friedel, making the American the first keeper in the World Cup since 1974 to stop two penalties in the World Cup.

With Friedel's performance and the United States going onto the next round, I found myself amazed with Friedel's great play, and he unofficially became my all-time favorite keeper.

With Friedel's great performance, he was given the nickname "The Human Wall" and was the main reason why the United States were advancing onto the Round of 16 to take on our arch rival Mexico.

Against Mexico, the United States were fantastic to say the least, and Friedel was a huge part of that, as he registered the first United States clean sheet in the World Cup since 1950, and we were able to win 2-0.

Despite a hard-fought 1-0 loss to Germany in the Quarterfinals, Friedel and the American side came out of the World Cup as nation that showed that they are an emerging country on the world stage, and Friedel was a huge reason behind this.

After the World Cup, Friedel kept up his great performance in the Premier League, as he was huge for Blackburn during the season, even getting called Superman by Gordon Strachan for his heroics against Southampton.

Overall during the season, Friedel kept 15 clean sheets, and was named to the Premiership Starting XI for his great play.

After his incredible season, Friedel continued to play for Rovers, keeping them in the Premier League every season before leaving to Aston Villa in the summer of 2008.

In his first year with Aston Villa, Friedel nearly got the Villains a spot in the UEFA Champions League before Villa's hot streak ended, and found themselves in sixth place.

And, Friedel is also able to tutor another American keeper, Villa backup Brad Guzan, to make him yet another American international keeper who has played in the English Premier League.

Despite being 38 years old, Friedel is able to continue to be an effective force in the Premier League, as he has started 201 consecutive Premier League matches, which is the longest streak in the history of the Premier League.

Finally, despite other great American keepers such as Kasey Keller and Tim Howard and other greats such as Peter Schmeichel and Lev Yashi, Brad Friedel will always be my favorite keeper of all time, and it is great to see him play this well and have such a great career.