MIAMI — Brad Friedel, the former UCLA goalkeeper whose dramatic saves helped propel the United States to the semifinals of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, announced his retirement from international soccer Monday. Friedel, 33, said he'd decided to step aside only after "a great deal of thought, consideration and discussion." He will continue to play in the English Premier League as the starting goalkeeper for Blackburn Rovers.
"Over 15 years I have played in three World Cups, two Olympic Games and 82 international matches," Friedel said.
"I have loved every minute of it, but feel now is the right time to end my international career.
"I have been extremely lucky not to have suffered any major injuries. However, over the past 18 months or so, I have sometimes been left feeling short of full fitness because of the strains of playing for my club and my country and the huge amount of long-haul travel involved."
Friedel's decision did not surprise U.S. Coach Bruce Arena.
"I've known about it for a while," Arena said at the University of Miami, where the U.S. team held its final training session before flying to Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, for Wednesday's World Cup qualifying match against Trinidad and Tobago.
"We had discussed it a couple of times. I told him to think about it. He feels very comfortable with it.... I think it's the right move for him to make."
Friedel's decision makes Kasey Keller the top goalkeeper for the U.S. and opens the door for two others, Joe Cannon of the Colorado Rapids and Marcus Hahnemann of Reading in England. Both were on the U.S. roster announced Monday.
Arena said Hahnemann, who starts for Reading, had earned the call-up.
"He's played on a regular basis, he deserves it," Arena said. "He clearly is ahead of our domestic [MLS] keepers at this point."
Friedel was a starter at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, but at his first two World Cups he was a backup. He claimed the starting spot ahead of Keller at Korea/Japan 2002, where he became only the second goalkeeper in history to save two penalty kicks in the first round of the World Cup and also earned the U.S. its first World Cup shutout in 52 years, a 2-0 second-round win over Mexico.
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Joe Cannon, Colorado Rapids; Marcus Hahnemann, Reading, England; Kasey Keller, Borussia Moenchengladbach, Germany.
Chris Albright, Galaxy; Carlos Bocanegra, Fulham, England; Gregg Berhalter, Energie Cottbus, Germany; Steve Cherundolo, Hannover 96, Germany; Jimmy Conrad, Kansas City Wizards; Cory Gibbs, Feyenoord, Netherlands; Frankie Hejduk, Columbus Crew; Eddie Pope, Real Salt Lake.
DaMarcus Beasley, PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands; Clint Dempsey, New England Revolution; Landon Donovan, Bayer Leverkusen, Germany; Eddie Lewis, Preston North End, England; Pablo Mastroeni, Colorado Rapids; Clint Mathis, Real Salt Lake; Ben Olson, D.C. United.
Brian Ching, San Jose Earthquakes; Eddie Johnson, F.C. Dallas; Brian McBride, Fulham, England; Taylor Twellman, New England Revolution; Josh Wolff, Kansas City Wizards.