The club’s first American goalkeeper named Brad (Friedel) officially signed with Aston Villa yesterday penning a three-year deal with the club. The 37-year-old spent eight years with Blackburn. He proved to be more than capable at the club guiding Blackburn to successful Premiership and UEFA Cup runs during his time with the outfit. Speculation persisted that this move to Villa was mainly brought on by Friedel’s and owner Randy Lerner’s Cleveland connection. Friedel commented on the club’s official website,
“Martin was the main factor in my moving to Villa. I know a lot has been said about my Cleveland connection and my United States connection with Mr. Lerner. I have spoken to him and he’s a fantastic guy.”
With Villa’s victory over Danish side Odense BK in UEFA Intertoto Cup action, the club has qualified for the 2008-2009 UEFA Cup. Aston Villa will need Friedel’s big-match experience in Europe this fall. He made nearly 290 appearances with Blackburn.
The club’s second American goalkeeper named Brad (Guzan) has his work permit hearing on Friday, August 1st. Villa has already agreed to terms with Guzan and is awaiting a positive response from the application board. The 23-year-old will work under the guidance of his American counterpart and more than likely figure into secondary matches like the Carling Cup.