Friedel flying the American flag
By Chris Bergin (ussocceruk.com)
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Friedel was named the English top-flight's best keeper following the best-ever season in The Premiership for the former Columbus Crew shot-stopper, which was recognised by the people that voted for him, his fellow professionals.
"I don't play this game for individual awards, but when they do come around it's very nice and you have to accept them humbly," said Friedel.
"This award means more than most because fellow players are the ones that do the voting."
In the 35 games he has appeared in this year, Friedel has kept 15 clean sheets and arguably had one of his best matches this season at Highbury, as Rovers came away with a 2-1 win over Premiership champions Arsenal.
"It's been a very good year, there's no doubt about it. Right now we're focused on trying to qualify for the Uefa Cup," he added.
"We've distanced ourselves from the teams below us, and now we're chasing Everton.
"For a club of our size to be able to qualify for Europe through league play would be quite an accomplishment."
Friedel also becomes the first American to be named in the Premiership Team of the Year, adding to his status as the best keeper to have played for the US, as he continues to be given the nod ahead of Tottenham's Kasey Keller by US national team manager Bruce Arena.
"I'm no longer thought of as a foreigner in this league, which is an achievement in itself," he noted. "I think it's fantastic for US soccer that any player can be named in a best 11 for a league in Europe.
"Regardless of who it is, it only adds to the perception that the United States is producing quality footballers."