Brad Friedel “ Just because you’ve played at a professional level, it doesn’t make you a good coach”.

We sat down with the ex Premier League goalkeeper Brad Friedel at the NSCAA convention in Baltimore to talk about coaching, development and all things football. Here is the introduction…

Q: What excites you about the role of the U.S Mens Team U’19’s Head Coach?

Brad: When I first started doing my coaching, I didn’t realise I would enjoy the youth level as much as I did. I coached a lot in England and a new program with the U/19s. It’s a very good challenge, it gives us an opportunity between myself and the U/18s manager to again try to get a much larger catchment area of players and it gives another body to go out and do scouting.

Q: Is their anything you think we should be teaching at a grassroots level to improve the next generation of players?

Brad: The only thing that affects the next generation, especially when you get into younger players, is the relationship that you can have with them. When you stand up in front of the room or in front of your group whatever it is, you’re a leader straight away. Like it, love it or loath it, it doesn’t matter because you’re a leader. You have the opportunity with everything that you say and that you do to have a little bit of an impact on the players lives. I mean that, genuinely. Not just on a training session but their lives, they remember strange little things, five years later people come back and say “I remember when you said that…”. All the training sessions and all the groups and clinics and with the younger kids especially it has to be enjoyable, it has to be fun.

I think a lot of coaches, even at the senior level, need to remember it’s a ball, it’s a game. It is a game. There’s a lot at stake and pressure situations but when you’re at a grassroots level, if the kids aren’t having fun, what’s the point? What is the point? I go and watch games all the time and I watch parents and coaches screaming at a referee or a throw in decision I’m like, it’s a U/9’s game. Is it just to let off some steam? If that was my parent, as a kid, I’d be embarrassed. The psychological effects that it has is enormous. It should be fun.

Q: What’s your take on performance analysis?

Brad: I like it, and I need it. I wont necessarily throw it in front of the players all the time. I’ve had some coaches that did like it and some that didn’t. It can work both ways depending on how you use the data. I think it’s important to have the data as a coach. There are definitely certain correlations with certain types of outputs that will correlate with injuries. That’s really important, and especially with international soccer when you get into these events and have games every 3–4 days and only have 23 players to choose from you can’t afford to have 3, 4 or 5 injuries. You just can’t.

For the rest of the interview, and to hear what Brad has to say about Messi, Jermain Defoe and the Premier League CLICK HERE