HOLLYWOOD, Fla., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Brad Friedel, who backstopped the United States to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup, Friday was named the U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year.
U.S. Soccer president Bob Contiguglia made the presentation to Friedel's national team coach Bruce Arena. The goaltender was training with his team in England.
"I can tell you he's extremely proud," Arena said. "This is the culmination of years of hard work. He's paid his dues and he has worked real hard to be where he is today."
Friedel is also a candidate for Player of the Year in England, where he plays with the Premiership side Blackburn. He was an overwhelming favorite in the American voting conducted by media members and fans. Landon Donovan and Brian McBride also were considered for the honor.
"Really over the last three years, I can't complain," said Friedel via conference call. "I've been very happy since I came to Blackburn. I've worked hard and been very fortunate. It was a great year for me, but I hope to keep my feet on the ground, keep working hard and hope to have many more."
Past winners of the award include Earnie Stewart, who recently joined D.C. United in the MLS, Chris Armas, Kasey Keller, Tab Ramos, Alexi Lalas and Eric Wynalda.