Brad Friedel sat down with World Soccer Talk this week to discuss his broadcast and coaching career.
World Soccer Talk: You are one of the most decorated goalkeepers in the history of the Premier League with the most appearances – even more than the likes of Peter Schmeichel and Petr Cech. How did you make the transition to broadcasting quicker than most and been able to do both studio work and co-commentary?
Brad Friedel: I’ve been doing radio and television in England going back to when I was at Blackburn in the mid 2000’s. I’d worked on radio and television with ITV and Sky. I had worked with the likes of Martin Tyler and Jon Champion. It was not like I retired and went into broadcasting without any training. I actually found the transition to coaching more difficult. It was more of a challenge to become a coach in the first six to 12 months than the media side of things.
World Soccer Talk: How has working with J.P. Dellacamera, Rob Stone and John Strong helped shape your commentary style?
Brad Friedel: All different guys, all really good guys.
JP’s been around forever and John Strong is newer on the block. I have also had the good fortune of working with Martin Tyler and Jon Champion so I’ve worked with several of the big ones, if you would like (to call them that). Both (Dellacamera and Strong) are amazing to work with. They are seamless to work with. You could have gone six months not working with one of them, go into the booth and they know exactly how to feed things to you, how exactly to work with you and it’s not easy to have a voice like theirs. It’s easier to call a great game but when a game isn’t good, you cannot lie, but those guys all have a way with words to keep the viewer intrigued. So very very good and the better those guys are the easier it is for us to do our job.
World Soccer Talk: You played for some of the best coaches in English football. Sparky (Mark Hughes), Graeme Souness, Martin O’Neill, Harry Redknapp and Mauricio Pochettino, who’s maybe the best manager now in the English game. How have those coaches shaped your coaching style?
Brad Friedel: It changes it drastically. Gathering information over all the years and taking my own individuality about what I also think about the game. It involves taking the best from all those greats you name and processing the information and creating a style. So much of this is about asking questions, becoming a sponge. When you aren’t sure about something, go and ask. A lot of those names you just mentioned I stay in touch with today. You can’t be shy when learning the game and you’ll never stop learning in the game. Even the best of the best learn constantly. Sir Alex Ferguson, arguably the best of all time, never stopped learning until the day he retired. I was very very fortunate that I was able to play with some of those coaches and very fortunate to continue to have a relationship today with them.