February 24: After John Harkes (Sheffield Wednesday, 1991) and Kasey Keller (Leicester, 1997), goalkeeper Brad Friedel became the third American to win the English League Cup when he led Blackburn Rovers to a 2-1 victory over Tottenham.
What must the folks at England's Department of Employment and at Liverpool be thinking now? After repeatedly being denied a work permit, Brad Friedel finally landed at Liverpool in 1997 only to spend most of three seasons on the bench.
Here's a few of the accolades Friedel, who joined Blackburn in 2000, yielded in 2002:
Blackburn's official Web site on his performance in the League Cup final:
''Awesome Man of the Match.''
Blackburn manager Graeme Souness:
''I think we've got the best keeper in the country.''
Bolton boss Sam Allardyce:
''Without a doubt, the best keeper in the Premiership. ... It must have been a crushing blow for Liverpool, who have spent $20 million on two keepers, to let him go. Neither of them are as good as he is.''
Southampton's Gordon Strachan:
''Friedel must have got changed in a telephone box today. I wouldn't be surprised if when he takes his shirt off there's a blue jersey with an 'S' on underneath it.''
Agence France Presse:
''Inspirational Friedel leaps from hospital bed to Rovers' rescue.''
The People newspaper:
''The Premiership from Brad to Verse!''
Sky Sports on its online poll:
''Your Vote: Friedel is [Premiership's] top stopper.''
Headline in the Mirror:
''Shiny Happy Friedel.''
by Soccer America Editors