English Premier League goalkeeping star, Brad Friedel, dropped in ahead of Brooklyn Nets’ open practice at the O2 Arena on Wednesday afternoon.
Tottenham Hotspur’s American shot-stopper took the opportunity to speak with the Nets’ head coach Jason Kidd as they prepared for their game tomorrow night against Atlanta Hawks, but before that spoke with UKAmericanSportsFans.com about his basketball connections.
The 6ft 3in ‘keeper admitted that although he had the chance to make a career on the hard court, the dream was to always play association football.
“Soccer was the love of mine,” said Friedel, who moved to London to play for Spurs back in 2011. “Basketball I played, but I think my height was suited more for soccer than basketball believe it or not!”
The road to the Premier League and White Hart Lane could have been scuppered as in 1990 he was invited to try-out as a walk-on for UCLA’s basketball team – instead, he made the decision to pull his shooting boots and given a spot as a striker in UCLA’s soccer team, before he opted to switch in goal.
Coach Kidd of the Nets took time out to speak with Friedel, but the goalie, who made 82 international appearances for the United States until 2005, insists he’ll be there for the game tomorrow night.
He also revealed that with the influx of American sports, the anticipation amongst his team-mates at Spurs is always increasing when they hit these shores: “We’ll be here tomorrow night. With the NFL coming over again as well; it’s brilliant. A lot of my team-mates are in to the American sports, so they’re always looking forward every time they come.”
Of course, one of his current team-mates will experience for himself what it is like to play Stateside is striker Jermain Defoe, who has recently signed up for MLS side, Toronto FC.
According to Friedel, the England international has been asking for advice when he makes the move officially at the end of February: “He’s spoken to me many times already about it now, but I’m sure he’ll really enjoy it over there!”