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U.S. Soccer names Brad Friedel coach of under-19 team

Former United States goalkeeper Brad Friedel will begin his head coaching career as the leader of the U.S. under-19 team, U.S. Soccer announced on Monday.

Friedel, 44, retired with Tottenham in May after a long career in England during which he also played for Liverpool, Blackburn and Aston Villa.

Omid Namazi, a former assistant for Iran, was also hired to coach the under-18 squad.

"We are thrilled to bring on two guys who have such tremendous experience," said U.S. 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 was on three World Cup squads and earned 82 caps before announcing his international retirement in 2005. He holds the Premier League record for most consecutive appearances with 310.

"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."

The new Under-19 squad, which features players from last year's Under-17 World Cup, will play their first games later this month in the Copa del Atlantico in the Canary Islands.

Namazi has been an assistant coach with the U.S. under-20 side for the past two years after helping Iran qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

"I look forward to leading such a critical age group in our youth national teams set up," Namazi said. "My experience with the U-20s 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."