World Soccer Talk: Spurs, your former club are touring the US right now. They don’t have the resources of the other top clubs (in England) but somehow, some way Mauricio Pochettino has been able to bleed in a lot of young players yet keep the club in the top four the last two years in an incredibly competitive league at the top. What are your expectations for the upcoming season and how does Pochettino do it?
Brad Friedel: My expectation is that they’ll fight for the league title. You say “somehow, some way.” It’s not an accident, not a mistake – Mauricio is arguably the finest young manager out there. Along with John McDermott who I think is one the very best youth developers of footballing talent in the entire world – he is the academy director there. They work closely together. Mauricio has no problem giving a young player the opportunity to do well, if he thinks they are ready. No they don’t pay the wages or the transfer fees of some of the other teams. They don’t need to. That’s because of the way Mauricio and John train the players. That’s both mentally and physically. He (Pochettino) is a truly a gem, and if he really needed someone and needed to press to get someone and needed to go to Daniel Levy and the board, I am sure they would back him. But he’s very particular about who he wants to bring into the club. If he isn’t sure that person is going to make the club better than he will promote one of the academy players and make them better (instead). It was only a year at the end of my career, but it was such a valuable year for me on the coaching front and I was working on my pro license with one of his assistants. I learned an incredible amount from that entire staff.
World Soccer Talk: Tell us a little bit about the program you are working on with Allstate and the company’s involvement with the Gold Cup?
Brad Friedel: Two things with Allstate- this is the second time they’ve sponsored the Gold Cup and have sponsored soccer in the USA for seven or eight years now. It’s important for us to have sponsors invested in the game from the grassroots and youth level on up to the national team and the senior professional level.