Bradley Edwin Guzan
Friddy G Jnr
Chicago Fire, Chivas USA
USA - 15 Caps
Now the last remaining balding, American goaltender, Guzan, or "Guz" as I don`t like to call him has been largely utilised in the back-up position to number 1 Paddy O`Given, although yet never particularly featuring in the minor-league farm team starting roster.
Guzan was born in winter-defying Evergreen Park which is in Illinois in the United States of America. It should be noted that the man famous for his god awful beard this season comes from a town that holds the honour of being the birthplace of none other than Jenny McCarthy - boobies, yay!
Having spent an impressive couple of years at the University of South Carolina, including 8 shutouts (clean-sheets for the non Americanizational amongst us) and managed 69 goal-ball-blocks.
In 2005 Brad was called up in the draft-system employed in the MLS by Chivas USA, a team that has only been in existence since 2004! It was at Chivas that Guzan really made his name his own, when in 2007 he was named the Major League Soccer goalkeeper of the year (a shock if ever there was one, in that they`ve used the word goalkeeper!)
With any "something" of the year, the spotlight is naturally going to sit on top of that 'thing` and the stature of the MLS is shown in just who were interested in their top top goalkeeper. Aged 23, Brad was offered a trial with Scottish Premier League side Celtic Rangers FC, although whispers had suggested that Arsene Wenger had run the rule as he desperately sought a better alternative than that wally Manuel the waiter. I believe that this did not come to fruition.
With the natural Celtic link that Martin O`Neill has always held (given he signed about 395% or so of his players during his Villa Park tenure from the Hoops) it was only a matter of time before the now American international was on the claret & blue radar.
With one failed attempt in the January transfer window due to work permit issues (Brad was refused a permit due to not being a 3 legged unskilled Moldovan who had clung to the underside of a lorry full of toothpaste at Calais,) he finally joined Villa that summer, as Stuart Taylor departed for what is now known as the $$$ Stadium to take up the roll of chief bench-warmer.
Guz made his Villa debut in September 08, a league cup game against QPR in which he was far from convincing, although the poor performance from the American was drastically overshadowed by the horrendously dire Wayne Routledge that night! Since then, Guzan`s career was on the up, with excellent performances both in the Europa League and in the 2009/10 season, in the League Cup. Brad`s penalty saving exploits bailed Villa out in a number of games including the 4 penalty saves against Sunderland in the Carling Cup last 16. The only problem was for him, that O`Neill subsequently dropped the hero of the cup run for the final! Would never have happened in Ron Atkinson`s time.
It`s been a quiet time for Guzan since that wonderful 2009/10 season, having been sent to the barren wilderness of Kingston-upon-Hull, where he managed 16 Championship Games at the KC Stadium. It did appear for a short time that the Tiggy Tigers were set to make a permanent move for the stopper, however this was quashed, and Guz returned to nestle into his by now, perfectly formed spot on the Villa Park bench.
That said, Bradley Guzan looks set to star in the AVFC Claret & Blues Winterville Program, with the injury to Given providing him with ample opportunity to put himself "in the shop window." How much is that keeper in the window?…The one with the wobbly hands….
Here`s to you Brad, you Big Brad wannabe!