Tottenham’s Brad Friedel Has the Vision For How to Make the USA a World Soccer Power

Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Brad Friedel has the vision of how the United States can become a world power in soccer and create an abundance of creative American soccer players that the national team system is lacking.

Friedel was in Baltimore recently as part of Tottenham’s Global Coaching Program, helping develop grassroots soccer across the world and encouraging youngsters to play with style, passion and flair.

“At some stage — hopefully I’m still alive there to see it — I would really like to see the sport become free of charge for kids all over the United States,” said Friedel, who sat down for an exclusive interview with World Soccer Talk.

“If we can do that, we can bring another type of [American] athlete into the soccer world. And with the type of athletes that we can produce in the United States, we can really become a world power at that time.

“I think the powers that be need to have a real strong look at why [the United States is] not developing enough players at the top level in the creative positions on the field — the strikers, the number 10’s, the holding midfielders… people right down the spine of the team.

“And I think that resonates all the way down to how you coach and teach your kids, and all the way down to the under-9 levels.”

The Tottenham Hotspur Global Coaching program that featured Friedel in Baltimore (in partnership with the Soccer Association of Columbia) is part of a larger Spurs program that partners with soccer associations across the United States, Hong Kong, South Africa, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia.

Friedel will report back to Tottenham Hotspur training soon in preparation for the 2013-14 Premier League season, which kicks off on the weekend of August 17-19 when Tottenham Hotspur plays Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

9 thoughts on “Tottenham’s Brad Friedel Has the Vision For How to Make the USA a World Soccer Power”

  1. When has football (soccer) ever been an expensive game to learn to play? American youth don’t kick a football endlessly against a brick wall or dribble as they WALK to school like kids do around the world. I applaud his optimism but kids who are driven to practice a few times a week compared to international kids who always have a ball at their feet is probably a big factor.

    1. are you serious?

      Friedel is spot on. The only way to get experience and to be recognized as a youth player in the US is to pay up to thousands of dollars to play for a club.

      it’s a complete joke, trust me. I’ll be playing in college this fall only because I was spotted playing for my club which I spent $600 that I don’t have to join.

      There are absolutely NO opportunities around me that don’t cost an arm and a leg that would give me experience playing.

      I spent around 5 years playing street soccer with my friends in a nearby tennis court because I couldn’t afford to play anywhere else.

      it’s not as easy as you make it sound.

      1. How can you disagree that football in the US is not as embedded as it is elsewhere, without a doubt the kids that are any good or enjoy the game are the ones that have the ball at their feet or practice on their own. Its absolutely the difference.

        Its no different than the kid always catching a baseball with his mitt or swinging a bat or the kids playing hokey on the street with trash cans for goals or gthe ones always bouncing a basket ball, playing all the time.

        going to practice two or three times a week and not playing all the time is the difference. Most kids play basketball or wall ball in recess when they play with a ball in the US. there may be examples of kids that do play football all the time but they are the exception not the rule.

        until that love of the game happens for those kids nothing is gonna change. not matter how many coaching schools you have…the talent pool needs to grow first

        1. Playing in the street with trash cans as goals is not what will make the US a superpower in soccer.

          Learning technique and skill is all good, but a player reaches the point where they have to learn specific tactics and game awareness that can only be learned on a full sized pitch with adequate coaching.

  2. I’m sure it doesn’t HELP that soccer is a pay-to-play sport in the US, but I’m not sure that’s the major thing killing it. It’s more that when parents buy their kids a ball and tell them to go play in the yard, its a basketball or a football.

    Plus, you have to hit a density where kids can find someone to play with…..and it doesn’t just have to be other kids. Just having an uncle or neighbor who can shoot a few baskets or throw the football is a fact of life in America. Finding the same thing for soccer players is really, really tough… kids only get to play the couple times per week when they are at organized practice (and we all know that practice isn’t ideal because the coaches aren’t ideal).

    Actually, I think a big thing that would help would be if more of us American fans would get off our duffs and coach a U-8 team. Do it at some place like the YMCA where the kids are probably getting atrocious coaching now.

    1. Footy will always be up against other ‘American’ sports so I agree with you. However there seems to be a lack of natural talent, in a sense that the majority of kids aren’t born with a football at their feet. Spending my youth in England then moving to the USA, I immediately saw the disadvantages of living in the suburbs…there was no-where to kick around. I’m just commenting though, not trying to come up with a masterplan here.

  3. few observations here, I agree with Fridel we can charge a nomial fee but the problem is as kids that go through the system move to american “football, basektball” so we need to develop and keep our talent moving forward.

    On not charging, I coach youth level, had the president of my league tell me to go to an academy with my son which is crazy money, Friedel is spot on for this as well

    We don’t have to force the game on people who play it rather entice them to continue to play it.

    my two cents

  4. like any other sport in US players come from the bottom of the economic ladder where dedication is paramount and choices are few. Most players in other countries come from lower socioeconomic class, in US it’s the opposite– I coach basketball, suburban kids for the most part lack heart, and low tolerance for hardship, not all obviously. Travel ball is a joke in all US sports all about adult power not teaching kids anything but to be athletic robots, give me the kid who goes to the park or gym everyday and shoots, dribbles, recreates game situations, plays competitive pickup games with no adults anywhere and he/she will be better.

    Now change basketball to soccer same thing

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