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Former MLS players Brad Friedel, Omid Namazi named US youth team head coaches

Two former MLS players have been named head coaches as the US national team continues to expand the youth level ranks.

US Soccer on Monday announced that Brad Friedel has been appointed head coach of the Under-19 national team, and Omid Namazi is head coach of the U-18 national team.

Both coaches have spent time working with the national team program in recent years.

Friedel, who played with Columbus Crew SC early in his career before fully embarking on a long career in Europe, was also a US international and was a three-time World Cup veteran in goal. Friedel holds a UEFA 'A' coaching license and has worked with youth US national team players and Tottenham Hotspur academy players in recent years, in addition to serving as a color analyst for FOX Sports' MLS broadcasts last season.

Namazi previously worked as assistant coach of the Iranian national team and was most recently assistant coach of the US U-20 national team. Briefly a member of the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now the Red Bulls), Namazi had a long playing career in the US before joining the coaching ranks.

"We are thrilled to bring on two guys who have such tremendous experience," said US national team head coach and US Soccer technical director Jurgen Klinsmann in a statement. "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."

Namazi's first camp will be a domestic training camp with 36 players from Jan. 17-23 at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, which will serve as preparation for international games in Argentina in early March.

The U-19 Men's National Team's first-ever event will be from Jan. 27-Feb. 6 in Las Palmas on the Canary Islands, taking part in the Copa del Atlantico four-team tournament with matches against Spain, France and the Canary Islands. The U-19 MNT program has been added to men's youth programing this year and features players born in 1998, who are coming off playing in the U-17 FIFA World Cup in Chile in October.