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Friedel Academy Extends an Arm to Talented Youth

  • BBC Sport, Friday, November 17, 2006 4:08 PM
When soccer players retire, the logical next step is usually a career in management or as a TV commentator, but Brad Friedel, former U.S. national team goalkeeper and long-time veteran of the English Premier League, has bigger ideas: he wants to take on a social problem plaguing the sport in his country. Once he retires -- though the 35-year old Blackburn keeper tells BBC Sport he has no immediate plan to do so -- Friedel plans to attend to the $7.9 million soccer academy in suburban Cleveland that he's developing. This is not the ritzy David Beckham academy in Los Angeles: "Football in America is a mid to upper-class sport and I want to change that," Friedel says, adding that his intentions are not "to take money off people." Instead of letting anyone who can pay enroll their child in his program, Friedel says the object is to attract the country's elite young players and put them in an environment where they can be trained properly. As in England, they won't have to pay; rather, Friedel and his backers are seeking Federal, state and local grants and sponsorships to help pay for the state-of-the-art facility. He adds that it won't just be for American players; the mix will be about 60-40.

Read the whole story at BBC Sport »

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