Stefan Frei (born 20 April 1986) is a Swiss-American footballer who currently plays as a goalkeeper for Seattle Sounders FC in Major League Soccer. Frei has played his entire professional career in Major League Soccer.
Frei playing for the Seattle Sounders in 2014
|Full name||Stefan Frei|
|Date of birth||20 April 1986|
|Place of birth||Altstätten, Switzerland|
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Seattle Sounders FC|
|2005–2008||California Golden Bears||47||(0)|
|2006||San Francisco Seals||6||(0)|
|2007–2008||San Jose Frogs||18||(0)|
|2014–||Seattle Sounders FC||198||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20 October 2019|
Youth and college
Frei moved from Switzerland to the United States in the late 1990s, attended De La Salle High School in Concord, California, and played college soccer at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2008, he was named to the All-Pac-10 first team and the NSCAA Far West All-Region team, and was also named to Top Drawer Soccer's Team of the Season. During his college years, Frei also played with both San Francisco Seals and San Jose Frogs in the USL Premier Development League.
Frei was named MVP at the 2009 MLS Player Combine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and signed a Generation Adidas contract. He was drafted in the first round (13th overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft by Toronto FC.
He made his professional debut on 21 March 2009, in Toronto's first game of the 2009 MLS season against Kansas City Wizards, and soon established himself as the team's first choice goalkeeper. Shortly after Frei was named Toronto FC Player of the Month for April 2009. Frei also won MLS's Save of the Week for week 15 and then three times consecutively for week 24, 25 and 26 of the 2009 season.
He played in 3 games of the 2009 Canadian Championship going 3–0 and ultimately making key saves in the deciding game that ensured Toronto FC would win by at least 4 goals on goal differential and their first trophy.
On 25 April 2010, Frei picked up his first clean sheet of the 2010 season in a 2–0 home win over Seattle Sounders FC. Frei had another standout season as Toronto's first choice keeper. He finished the season with a 1.32 goals against average and a 70% save percentage, he improved all statistics from his rookie season. It was announced on 18 November 2010 that Frei would graduate from the MLS Generation Adidas program at the end of the 2010 season.
In January 2011, after the hire of Aron Winter as the club's new coach, he stated in an interview that Julian De Guzman, Dwayne De Rosario and Stefan would be the key players of the upcoming season and he was impressed with Frei's abilities. Frei recorded his first clean sheet of the 2011 season in the second game of the year in a 2–0 home victory over Portland Timbers on 26 March. Frei also earned his third assist since playing with Toronto setting up the second goal for Javier Martina, it was later awarded the Goal of the Week in MLS. Following the departure of Toronto captain Dwayne De Rosario in early April, Coach Winter named Maicon Santos as the replacement captain while Frei would become vice captain. On 13 April against Los Angeles Galaxy Frei wore the captain's armband for the first time with Toronto due to an injury to Santos, the game ended in a 0–0 home draw. Frei started most games in the first half of 2011 but faced some injuries, after resting a few games backup keeper Miloš Kocić strung together several strong performances creating a highly competitive environment at the position. At the end of the season it was announced that Frei would be training with Liverpool, and return to Toronto before pre-season training.
After making his season debut against Los Angeles Galaxy on 7 March in the 2011–12 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals first leg, Frei sat out the second leg with Kocić being given the start. Much speculation began to arise with rumors of Frei being traded, however the following week he sustained a broken fibula during training. Two weeks later the club announced that Frei would have to undergo surgery to repair ligaments in his left ankle, he is expected to be out for four to six months putting his entire season in jeopardy.
Following a year of recovery, Frei entered the 2013 pre-season as the first choice keeper, however, he suffered a minor injury in training allowing back up Joe Bendik to start in the season opener. Bendik continued to put in strong performances forcing coach Ryan Nelsen to stick with him, Frei earned his first start in over a year in a Canadian Championship match against Montreal Impact on 24 April 2013, the game ended in a 2–0 home victory for Toronto.
Frei was one of the best goalkeepers in the league during the 2016 MLS Season, keeping eight clean-sheets in 33 appearances (the joint fourth-most kept by a goalkeeper that season), as Seattle qualified for the playoffs after finishing fourth in the Western Conference. He only conceded three goals in the MLS Cup playoffs, keeping four clean sheets in six postseason matches. Frei was named MLS Cup 2016 MVP after making seven saves in regular play, and another in the 5–4 penalty shoot-out victory in the final against his former club, Toronto, following a 0–0 draw after extra-time; his decisive save on Jozy Altidore's header in the second half of extra-time was later described by the MLSSoccer.com reporter Sam Stejskal as "one of the best saves in MLS Cup history."
Throughout the 2017 MLS season, Frei confirmed himself as one of the league's best goalkeepers once again: he started 33 games throughout the regular season, making 84 saves over the course of the year for a 69.4 per cent save percentage, and averaging 1.09 goals against per game, while also managing to keep 13 clean sheets, more than any other goalkeeper. In the Playoffs, Frei only made four saves en route to the MLS Cup final, but kept four consecutive clean sheets, as Seattle reached the final without conceding a goal. On 9 December 2017 he started in the 2017 MLS Cup Final against his former club Toronto FC at BMO Field, a rematch of the previous season's final; Toronto won the match 2–0 to complete an unprecedented treble of the MLS Cup, the Supporters' Shield, and the Canadian Championship, but Frei drew praise in the media for his performance throughout the match, following a string of impressive saves to keep the score level at half time, and made nine stops overall within the first hour of play.
On 10 November 2019, Frei started for Seattle in the 2019 MLS Cup Final, which ended in a 3–1 home win over Toronto FC.
Frei was a member of the Swiss U-15 national team.
Stefan is a second-cousin of the retired captain of, and all-time leading scorer for, the Swiss national football team, Alexander Frei, an accomplished striker twice voted Swiss player of the year, who used to play for Axpo Super League club FC Basel and is now a youth coach for FC Basel.
Frei announced on Twitter that he has officially become a U.S. citizen on 13 June 2017. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and two dogs in Queen Anne. Frei began painting in his spare time and has collaborated with companies and charitable organizations for his pieces.
- As of matches played on 4 August 2019
|Seattle Sounders FC||2014||34||0||4||0||1||0||—||39||0|
- Wu, Anthony (20 July 2009). "Success Follows Former Cal Goalie After Leaving School Early for MLS". The Daily Californian. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
- "Frei First Goalkeeper Drafted in MLS Super Draft". calbears.com. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 March 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Fitzgerald, Tom (11 July 2009). "Former De La Salle and Cal goalkeeper Stefan Frei, now with Toronto FC, is a contender for MLS rookie of the year". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 18 September 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
- "De Rosario attack stuns Seattle". Torontofc.ca. 25 April 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2010.
- http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/generation-adidas-players-graduate-seasons-end Generation adidas players to graduate at season's end
- "Kelly: Sitting down with Toronto FC's new boss". thestar.com. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
- "Martina Brace Leads The Way". Toronto FC. 26 March 2011. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
- "Martina's blast wins AT&T Goal of the Week". Major League Soccer. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
- "Another Point To Youthful TFC". Toronto FC. 13 April 2011. Archived from the original on 16 April 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
- "Reports: Liverpool Training For Frei". Toronto FC. 10 December 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
- "Reports: Deserved Opportunity For Frei". Toronto FC. 11 December 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- "TFC's Frei out 8–10 weeks with broken leg". Rogers Sportsnet. 24 March 2012. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
- "Toronto FC Goalkeep Stefan Frei to Miss Six Months". National Post. 4 April 2012. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- "Bendik's Success Story". Toronto FC. 4 April 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "Reds blank Impact in first leg of ACC". Toronto FC. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "Stefan Frei Traded For Pick". Toronto FC. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
- Sam Stejskal (10 December 2016). "Stefan Frei named MLS Cup Most Valuable Player". MLSSoccer.com. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
- Chicco Nacion (9 December 2017). "Tale of the tape: Toronto FC seeks redemption in MLS Cup rematch". CBC Sports. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
- Laura Armstrong (6 December 2017). "MLS Cup features two of the league's best goalkeepers". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
- "Recap: Toronto FC vs Seattle Sounders". mlssoccer.com. 9 December 2017. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
- Laura Armstrong (9 December 2017). "Toronto FC captures MLS Cup". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
- Dure, Beau (10 November 2019). "MLS Cup final: Seattle Sounders 3-1 Toronto FC – as it happened". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
- "Arena Calls 32 Players For MNT January Camp". US Soccer. 5 January 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- "Seattle's Stefan Frei passes US citizenship test, clearing way to USMNT". MLSsoccer.com. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
- "Swiss striker Frei has a nose for goal".
- "Seattle's Stefan Frei passes US citizenship test, clearing way to USMNT".
- Evans, Jayda (12 July 2019). "The goalkeeper's gallery". The Seattle Times. p. C1. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
- "Stefan Frei » Club matches". World Football. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
- "Stefan Frei » CONCACAF Champions League 2010/2011". World Football. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
- "Stefan Frei » CONCACAF Champions League 2011/2012". World Football. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
- "Stefan Frei » CONCACAF Champions League 2015/2016". World Football. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
- "S. Frei". Soccerway. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
- "2007 NSCAA/adidas NCAA Men's Division I All-America Team". Soccer America. 17 December 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
- "RFB Toronto FC "Man of the Year" Award". redpatchboys.ca. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
- "Bradley, Giovinco to represent TFC at MLS All-Star game - Sportsnet.ca". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
- "2017 MLS All-Star Roster". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
- "Seattle Sounders' Stefan Frei grabs 2018 MLS Save of the Year". MLSsoccer.com. 13 November 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
- "Sporting KC's Tim Melia named 2017 MLS Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year". mlssoccer.com. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- "Crew SC's Zack Steffen named 2018 MLS Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year". mlssoccer.com. Retrieved 6 November 2018.