Tim Howard, the former Manchester United, Everton and United States national team goalkeeper who starred for the U.S. at the 2014 World Cup, will retire following the upcoming MLS season. Howard, entering his fourth year with the Colorado Rapids, made the announcement in a social media post on Tuesday:
I’m greatly looking forward to kicking off the 2019 MLS season, as it will be my LAST. There will be plenty of time for sentiment later. For now, I am going to enjoy every minute. And as I’ve always done, compete hard and help lead the Rapids with the sole purpose of winning. pic.twitter.com/QWuCcy7gW2
— Tim Howard (@TimHowardGK) January 22, 2019
Howard, who’ll turn 40 in March, backstopped the Americans to the second round at the 2010 and ’14 World Cups, playing every minute of both tournaments. He posted a record 15 saves in a losing effort against Belgium in the Round of 16 at the latter event in Brazil, making him a household name in his home country in the process.
The New Jersey native was already a star in Europe by that time, though. Howard left MLS’s MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls) in 2003 to sign with Manchester United, where he immediately supplanted French World Cup winner Fabian Barthez as United’s starter. He won the FA Cup and was named to the Premier League’s team of the season in his maiden campaign in England.
After losing his spot to Dutch backstop Edwin van der Saar, Howard was loaned to Everton in 2006 and signed a permanent deal a year later, spending a decade with the Toffees before returning to MLS with the Rapids.
Howard made 121 appearances for the national team, more than any other keeper. He won two CONCACAF Gold Cups and won the Golden Glove award at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup after leading the U.S. to a runner-up finish. He was also on the 2006 U.S. World Cup roster but didn’t play in Germany.
His last match with the U.S. was a forgettable one. Howard was in the net when the Americans lost a World Cup qualifier in Trinidad and Tobago in October of 2017, breaking a streak of seven consecutive appearances at soccer’s premier event. But it’s a blip on an otherwise sterling record.
“What he’s given to this national team and the league and the sport in this country won’t be forgotten,” current USMNT keeper Sean Johnson told Yahoo Sports in a phone interview shortly after the news broke. “As a young goalkeeper coming up in this league, he helped me tremendously. I’m grateful that I got to spend a decent amount of time around him over the years and I know that he’ll be successful at whatever he does in the future.”
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