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Serious Kudos for Brad Friedel

Brad Friedel is in fantastic form for Blackburn Rovers again this season, but no, he's not interested in returning to the U.S. national team. "I had unbelievable times, to say the least, and I loved every minute of international football," he tells ESPN, "but I also don't regret for one second the day that I retired." At 36, Friedel isn't really that old for a goalkeeper, especially when you consider that fellow Americans Kasey Keller and Marcus Hahnemann played for the national team in 2007 and are 38 and 35, respectively. Friedel's 82nd and last performance for the U.S. came in a 1-0 victory over Poland four years ago.

His focus now is squarely on Blackburn, where he made his 137th straight league appearance against Middlesbrough on Saturday. The last time he missed a game was in May 2004. Friedel's consistency is the hallmark of his game, a fact that hasn't been lost on Blackburn manager Mark Hughes. "There are a lot of guys who shine brightly for a short period of time and get a lot of publicity, and then you don't hear about them for two or three seasons," Hughes said. "But Brad has consistently been at the top of his trade for seven years. He is right up there with anybody else I have worked with." Those are some serious kudos, especially when you consider Hughes' great Manchester United teammate Peter Schmeichel, who in his prime was widely regarded as the best keeper in the world.

Read the whole story at ESPN Soccernet/Yanks Abroad »

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