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Soccer start Brad Friedel files bankruptcy in the UK


Brad Friedel, a Bay High School standout who went on to play in the top levels of international soccer, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the United Kingdom, according to court documents.

Friedel, whose former soccer academy in Lorain was foreclosed on earlier this month, filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday, according to the UK’s Individual Insolvency Register.

The Daily Mirror reported Thursday that Friedel was declared bankrupt in a Macclesfield County court with debts totaling nearly $8 million.

Friedel, who lives in the UK, could not be reached for comment Thursday, but the Mirror reported that a Friedel spokesman said that the issue was being dealt with.

“This is a technical bankruptcy, and it is not anticipated that it will be in place for long, as an application for the annulment will be submitted in the next few days,” the London paper quoted the unnamed spokesman as saying. “Arrangements are in place to deal with the issues which gave rise to the bankruptcy.”

Friedel, whose contract as a goalie with the Aston Villa football club is up at the end of this season, and his companies took out several loans to help cover the estimated $10 million cost of building Brad Friedel’s Premier Soccer Academies in Lorain. The facility opened to much fanfare in 2007 and had major corporate sponsorships.

But when the world economy crumbled a year later, the academy’s sponsorships disappeared, and those running the facility couldn’t find enough students willing to pay a proposed $37,500 annual tuition.

The facility is now home to Rival Sports LCC, which offers youth soccer leagues and other programs.

In 2009, RBS Citizens Bank, which does business as Charter One Bank, filed foreclosure proceedings against Friedel and his companies, claiming that it was owed nearly $8.2 million on three loans. As of March of last year, Friedel also owed another $1 million on another loan from Bank of America, according to court documents.

There also are more than $346,000 in unpaid property taxes on the 28-acre complex, which the county values at about $7.6 million.

An Avon Lake home that Friedel owns and used as collateral on the loans for the soccer academy also has been foreclosed upon. That home is valued at $413,600, according to the Lorain County auditor’s website.

Friedel’s lawyer has declined to comment on the foreclosure cases, but the county magistrate who has worked on the cases has said that there are still efforts to stop the academy from being auctioned off at a sheriff’s sale.

Lorain Mayor Tony Krasienko said Thursday that he hopes there’s a way to keep the facility open.

“I see it as an asset to the city,” he said. “It has a tremendous amount of potential.”

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.

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