Benjamin Siegrist reveals his debt to Brad Friedel as yoga sessions supported his trip to Celtic Park

As he prepares for the challenge of securing a first-team spot with the Scottish champions, the 30-year-old remains grateful for the guidance he received during his formative years from Brad Friedel .

It was the former American international goalkeeper who took Siegrist under his wing at Aston Villa, introducing him to the benefits of yoga. As Siegrist recalls, this was not so much a recommendation from Friedel as an insistence. With Friedel extending his high-flying career to the age of 43, Siegrist has no doubts about the wisdom of adopting a yoga regimen that he continues to practice to this day.

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“The first guy I met when I came to Villa as a teenager was Brad Friedel and what a gentleman he was,” Siegrist said. “He taught me how to do yoga, which was interesting.

Benjamin Siegrist is showing Dundee United form, which won him a move to Celtic, by saving striker Giorgos Giakoumakis at Celtic Park in January. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

“It was definitely not a suggestion. It was ‘We’re doing yoga!’ It was more like it was something new and he was ready to try it. If Brad Friedel does it, that’s definitely good enough for me and other goalies to keep it. It’s good exercise, but it’s also a great support for your training program.

“I was lucky to have yoga teachers early in my career. I think it’s more of a goalkeeper thing, because we tend to be a bit bigger. Our work requires us to be flexible but at the same time to generate strength.

“A lot of goalie stretches are yoga poses anyway, but Brad really got me involved. I don’t do it as much anymore, but it’s still part of my workout routine. »

“I really enjoyed doing it, even though I didn’t really do it in a meditative sense. However, I like to read a lot of books about mental health, about other athletes and how they deal with things. I was with a mental trainer who is a sports psychologist. These are all things that can help for sure.

USA goalkeeper Brad Friedel had a huge influence on Benjamin Siegrist during their time at Aston Villa. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

As he anticipates the possibility of playing in the Champions League with Celtic following his departure from Dundee United, Siegrist can reflect with pleasure on the road he took to get there, which included loans to Solihull Moors and a spell two years with Vaduz in Liechtenstein. .

“It’s part of how I got here and what made me who I am,” he said. “A football course will never be straight, it will always have ups and downs. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. It got me this far, so I had to do some things right.

“Vaduz gave me the opportunity to participate in European qualifying for the first time, then the opportunity to join Dundee United presented itself. I wanted to try and claim the number one spot. I had four successful years there and now I’m at the best club in Scotland.

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Benjamin Siegrist reveals his debt to Brad Friedel as yoga sessions supported his trip to Celtic Park

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