January 4, 2016
LEADING THE YOUTH
Friedel, Namazi take over U19s, U18s
CHICAGO - U.S. Soccer has appointed three-time World Cup veteran Brad Friedel as Head Coach of the U-19 Men's National Team and former Iran National Team assistant coach Omid Namazi to lead the U-18 MNT program.
"We are thrilled to bring on two guys who have such tremendous experience," said U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. "Brad Friedel played at the highest level for almost two decades, and his knowledge will be a huge benefit to our young players. Omid Namazi has not only been a professional player at all levels in the United States, he has worked as a coach both here and overseas which adds important perspective. They have both been assistant coaches in our Youth National Teams, so this is another important step in connecting the dots between our teams."
Friedel earned 82 caps for the United States during his 13-year international career, starting all five matches in the USA's historic run to the quarterfinals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. One of the top performing U.S. professionals for more than 20 years in MLS and Europe, Friedel played for the Columbus Crew in MLS and at Galatasaray, Liverpool, Blackburn, Aston Villa, Tottenham and others. He holds the Premier League record for most consecutive appearances (310). Holding a UEFA 'A' coaching license, Friedel has served as an assistant at various Youth National Team camps and worked with players at the Tottenham academy.
"I look forward to the opportunity to help develop our young players into professionals and full internationals," said Friedel. "The last four years I have focused my coaching at the academy and development levels, and I'm excited to work with the entire group of committed Youth National Team staff members to increase our levels of development here in the United States."
Namazi takes the helm of the U-18 MNT after having served as an assistant coach of the U-20's for the last two years. Namazi brings an extensive coaching career that began in 1999, as well as an 18-year career as a professional player during which he played at all levels in the United States. He served as an assistant coach for Iran from 2011-2014, and helped the team qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. His coaching experience includes stints with the indoor Philadelphia Kixx and New Jersey Ironmen, as well as the Chicago Red Stars of the WUSA.
"I look forward to leading such a critical age group in our Youth National Teams set up," Namazi said. "My experience with the U20's in the last two years will certainly help me develop the type of players we need to compete at the highest levels professionally and internationally."
Namazi's first camp will be a domestic training camp with 36 players from Jan. 17-23 at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, which will serve as preparation for international games in Argentina in early March.
"Brad and Omid are very important additions as we continue working towards a more integrated National Team Program," said U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director and U-20 Men's National Team head coach Tab Ramos. "They both played key roles in the recent success of the U-20 National Team and we're looking forward to working closely with all of our National Team coaches and professional leagues to continue to develop players to be ready to compete at the highest level of the game."
The U-19 Men's National Team's first-ever event will be from Jan. 27-Feb. 6 in Las Palmas on the Canary Islands, taking part in the Copa del Atlantico four-team tournament with matches against Spain, France and the Canary Islands. The U-19 MNT program has been added to men's youth programing this year and features players born in 1998, who are coming off playing in the U-17 FIFA World Cup in Chile in October.
Friedel and Namazi are the most recent additions to the Youth National Team programs, following the hiring of John Hackworth as the new head coach of the U-17 MNT .