Brad Friedel is an aspiring head coach, so it was an easy decision when Tottenham Hotspur and Under Armour invited him to coach young kids in clinics held in Baltimore and San Francisco.
The 42-year-old goalkeeper and Tottenham's academy goalkeeping coach Perry Suckling ran three-day training sessions on the position in both cities. Speaking after the team's first stop in Baltimore, Friedel said he believes the time was very valuable for all parties involved.
"I don't think it does the kids any good if one of the stars of the game just comes in for an hour and does some autographs and photographs," Friedel explained to Goal. "What we've done is myself and the academy goalkeeping coach Perry Suckling have come over and devised sessions based on how we train at Tottenham, how we teach the keepers at the team."
During the three day sessions, Friedel and Suckling not only spent their time teaching kids the Spurs' way, they also got the youth club's coaches involved. Friedel insists that the key to developing players is having them learn the game properly.
"We want to help the coaches as well so that once we leave they can implement the certain things that they like about what we've taught them," Friedel stated. "So that they can carry on training their goalkeepers in what we would consider the correct way.
"Maybe they take one thing away, maybe they take a 100 things away. But even if they take one thing away, that's a positive."
Friedel is Tottenham's backup keeper and has played for some top European clubs, including Galatasaray, Liverpool and Aston Villa during his 22-year career. His exploits for the U.S. men's team in its astonishing 2002 World Cup quarterfinal run is legendary, as fans dubbed him "The Human Wall."
Despite participants in the youth clinics being aged between 8 and 18, Friedel was impressed how knowledgeable the young players were about his career. Not bad for a player who started his playing days in 1994.
"Remarkably, all of them knew about it. We did a question and answer today and the youngest one was answering all of them," Friedel said.
In a way, Friedel's time in both cities is good early practice for his future career as a coach. He is only focusing on young goalkeepers on this trip because he only has a UEFA A license, which in Europe only allows him to coach that position.
However, he is looking forward to getting his B license next year that would allow him to coach outfield players on the continent. Friedel is excited about the opportunity to show off skills that he doesn't get many chances to showcase.
"I can do a step over," Friedel said. "You haven't seen it but I can do it."
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