Sounders Insider

Tottenham keeper Brad Friedel praises MLS, Sounders, Sigi Schmid and Kasey Keller

On the growth of MLS: From when I was born and raised there was no professional league, so it’s vastly different. The MLS has grown and made incredible strides along the way. … Where it’s at right now is the healthiest it’s ever been. This team and this city and the stadium that we’re in right now I think boasts the best of all the franchises in MLS from what I’ve seen. The atmospheres that they create here, the players that they attract here, the coach – I know Sigi very well, he’s the one who started me on my career, along my path – and I know that his attention to detail is very fine. I know what he’s trying to do at the academy levels and they are one of the teams that a lot of the other MLS teams can look up to and get a lot of education from what Seattle is doing.

On if he was surprised by Clint Dempsey's return to MLS: I wasn’t that surprised. It had to get to a point at some stage where U.S. players especially in their prime need to come back to the MLS. It’s good to have some of the players in Europe, and some of the players playing here, but I think it was a bit statement when both Clint came back, and also a big statement when Michael Bradley went to Toronto. Two players who in my opinion had many years of playing in Europe left playing in Europe if they wanted it, and I thought it was fantastic that they were able to lure those players back. As the MLS grows we’ll start to see some of the European stars more closer to their prime. … The league is doing incredibly well. The talk around the rest of the world and the interest that the people have in the MLS is at its highest peak that its ever been. It’s nice to be an American over there now when people take an interest in what we’re doing over here.

More on his relationship with Sigi Schmid: I wouldn’t be sitting here if it wasn’t for Sigi. I had played every other sport that you could play as an American kid. I was at a small tournament. … Sigi came out and he watched me in a game, and he gave me a scholarship. From that point, Sigi always pushed and pushed and pushed me, and then also pushed coaches to take me into the youth national team setup. So we have a mutual respect for one another. I think his track record in the MLS and with the university and when he’s been with the youth national team speaks for itself. I can’t say enough good things about Sigi.

On his relationship with Kasey Keller: Kasey and I, we had a very competitive relationship. There were many goalkeepers … that were vying for one position. I have a great amount of respect for Kasey as a goalkeeper. And I’m sure it’s likewise. Only one goalkeeper can play in a game: He got his games, I got my games; he got his World Cups, I got my World Cups. He just recently retired, and I saw the sendoff that he got here: 67-65,000 people here, which is a tremendous honor for him, and it was probably great for him also that he was able to come and finish his career close to his hometown – if memory serves right it was Lacey, Washington. Again, another one of the pioneers of U.S. soccer history that came over to Europe and we helped pave a lot of paths for a lot of players to come after that.