NASL's Minnesota United FC Player Kevin Friedland, Minnesota’s second longest active professional athlete with a Minnesota team, announced he is retiring after the club’s final game on November 2nd. At 10 years, Friedland is currently tied with the Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins) and Cullen Loeffler (Minnesota Vikings), only trailing Kevin Williams (Minnesota Vikings – 11 years), for the longest active player with a professional sports team in Minnesota. He also serves as an Assistant Coach and is a member of the front office staff.
CLICK HERE FOR LETTER FROM KEVIN FRIEDLAND
“The time is finally right,” Friedland said. “My body is telling me it’s time. I’m now at an age where I feel like it’s time to start the next phase of my life. I’m extremely satisfied and grateful with what I was able to accomplish as a player over the last 10 years playing in Minnesota.”
“Certainly his time in Minnesota has been outstanding,” said United Head Coach Manny Lagos. “To me he is the definition of what a team player is, whether he is playing or not he is always there for the team and ready to go. He has played in some big games and I think that’s a credit to him in how he has gone about being a professional soccer player.”
Friedland, 32 (10/3/1981), was drafted by the Kansas City Wizards in the 2003 before he signed with the Minnesota Thunder in 2004. In March, 2010, the native of Irvine, California signed as player/Assistant Coach with the newly formed NSC Minnesota Stars, a position he has held as the organization transitioned into the Minnesota Stars and now Minnesota United FC. For his career, Friedland has amassed over 160 appearances, scored seven goals, added eight assists, and won the 2011 NASL Soccer Bowl.
“It is very rare that you have a player/assistant be successful like we have the last couple of years,” Lagos added. “It takes a person like Kevin who is one hundred percent dedicated to this organization and the growth of soccer in Minnesota.”
On top of serving as player/Assistant Coach, Friedland assists with marketing efforts for the club. He has also been a staple in youth soccer, coaching numerous clubs including Woodbury Soccer Club, St. Croix Soccer Club, and Shattuck-St. Mary’s. In 2005, Friedland represented the United States Maccabi Team, finishing second in the Maccabiah Games, an international athletics competition held every four years in Israel. He also represented the United States with former Minnesota United Captain, Kyle Altman, winning the gold medal in 2007 at the Pan American Maccabi Games in Argentina. Altman retired in July this year after five seasons with Minnesota.
“As I sit and reflect on the last ten years in my life, I can’t imagine it any other way than spending this time in Minnesota,” Friedland said. “I hope fans will remember me for my hard work, professionalism, loyalty, longevity and dedication to the club both on and off the field. I want to thank my family, teammates, fans and everyone in Minnesota that has welcomed me over the past 10 years and allowed me to call Minnesota home.”
Friedland and Minnesota United have two home games remaining this season. The club returns to the field this Saturday, October 19 against the Carolina RailHawks, 2:30 PM at the National Sports Center Stadium in Blaine, MN. Tickets are available by calling 763-331-8777 or online at MNUnitedFC.com. Saturday’s game will also be broadcast live on Fox Sports North. The club’s final home game will be Saturday, October 26, 6:00 PM at the National Sports Center Stadium. That game will be broadcast live on KSTC-45TV.