Former UCLA All-American Brad Friedel's move to Tottenham was finalized Friday, with the 40-year-old goalkeeper signing a two-year contract with the North London giant.
The move was announced on Spurs' website and has been anticipated for most of the past week. His contract with Aston Villa expired when the English Premier League season ended last month, and Villa, Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion and clubs outside England had expressed interest.
“It was a very difficult decision to leave Villa,” Friedel's agent, Tony McGill, told Sky Sports. “Brad has really enjoyed his time there … but Brad felt the time was right to move on, and he has not been short of offers. The last 48 hours have been hectic.”
Friedel, an Ohioan who starred on UCLA's 1990 NCAA title-winning side, spent the past three seasons at Aston Villa and has been in the English Premier League since 1997, previously playing for Liverpool and Blackburn. His departure could give former Chivas USA netminder Brad Guzan the starting job with the Birmingham club.
Tottenham finished fifth in the Premier League this season and won a berth in next season's UEFA Europa Cup, Europe's No. 2 club competition.
Friedel is the third goalkeeper with the club, joining 37-year-old Italian Carlo Cudicini, who last month extended his contract with the club through 2012, and 30-year-old Brazilian Heurelho Gomes, who has been the first-choice keeper. Gomes has been linked with a return to Dutch power PSV Eindhoven after his errors cost Spurs goals in April losses to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League and Chelsea in EPL play.
"Brad is a top goalkeeper of real quality who has great experience,” Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said in a statement. “It is good to have three such experienced top goalkeepers at the club in Gomes, Carlo and now Brad, and it means we have competition for places, particularly with the number of games we will hopefully face next year both domestically and in Europe as well.”
Friedel, who also has played for Turkish giant Galatasaray and in Major League Soccer for the Columbus Crew, made 82 appearances for the U.S. national team from 1992 to 2004 and was on three World Cup rosters, backing up Tony Meola in 1994, getting one of three games in 1998 and playing a huge role in the Americans' run to the quarterfinals in 2002.