Friedel Voted England's Top Goalkeeper

May 2, 2003

London (AP) - Former UCLA All-American goalkeeper Brad Friedel became the first American picked for the English Premier League team of the year when he was voted the top goalkeeper by his fellow players.

Friedel, the starter for the United States at last year's World Cup, finished first in voting by the Professional Footballers Association. He led Blackburn to the 2002 Football League Cup, then saved two penalty kicks for the Americans at the World Cup as the United States advanced to the quarterfinals.

'I'm no longer thought of as a foreigner in this league, which is an achievement in itself,' Friedel said Monday, a day after the award was announced. 'I think its fantastic for U.S. soccer that any player can be named in a best 11 for a league in Europe. Regardless of who it is, it only adds to the perception that the United States is producing quality footballers.'

The 31-year-old from Bay Village, Ohio, has 15 shutouts this season for Rovers, seventh in the Premier League. He helped Blackburn upset Manchester United and Arsenal, the top two teams in the league.

'I don't play this game for individual awards, but when they do come around, it's very nice and you have to accept them humbly,' Friedel said. 'This award means more than most because fellow players are the ones that do the voting.'

Arsenal's Thierry Henry was voted player of the year, and Newcastle's Jermaine Jenas was selected young player of the year.

Joining Friedel and Henry on the team of the year were Stephen Carr (Tottenham), Ashley Cole (Arsenal), Sol Campbell (Arsenal), William Gallas (Chelsea), Patrick Vieira (Arsenal), Paul Scholes (Manchester United), Robert Pires (Arsenal), Kieron Dyer (Newcastle) and Alan Shearer (Newcastle).

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