USMNT Goalkeeper Tim Howard Announces International Soccer Sabbatical
photo via US Soccer’s Facebook page.
2014 World Cup and USMNT star Tim Howard announced Thursday that he is taking a sabbatical from US Men’s National Team to spend more time with his family.
“Having played overseas for the last 12 years and missing out on spending time with my family, making this commitment to my family is very important at this time,” said Howard. “I am grateful for the willingness of both Jurgen Klinsmann and Everton manager Roberto Martinez to afford me the opportunity to spend time with my kids. It’s the right decision at the right time. Jurgen has always been up front with all the players in saying you have to earn your place, which is something I agree with, so I look forward to coming back next fall and competing for a spot.”
It is key to note that he is in fact not retiring. He will make himself available to be called-up against to the national team in September 2015. Howard is taking a much deserved rest. He played all out at the 2014 World Cup and I commend him from spending time with his family, while also continuing to play for EPL side Everton.
Klinsmann shows his support of Howard’s decision and noted they had discussed his intentions before an announcement was made.
“We had a very good and productive conversation,” said Klinsmann. “I totally understand Tim’s situation. He was very straight forward and honest in his approach, and I admire him for that. He has a wish to take a step back to take care of his family, and we came to the conclusion that it’s absolutely fine that he takes time off from international soccer until after next summer’s Gold Cup, and then we reevaluate. I told him as long as he is the same Tim Howard that we always see performing well, he will be welcome back with open arms and right back competing for a spot. He knows that he has to prove that he deserves to be back.”
In addition to playing with Everton, he will be apart of NBC’s EPL coverage for certain matches during the 2014-15 season.
Howard’s international sabbatical opens the door for Brad Guzan to take the starting keeper role. Jurgen Klinsmann mentioned that the competition at goalkeeper is wide open for Guzan and Nick Rimando.
“This gives us a huge opportunity to see Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando going forward and fighting for the No. 1 spot,” said Klinsmann. “We have young talented goalkeepers with Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid, who have been brought along the last couple years, so this may give them a chance here and there to get some game time. Always when somebody steps aside for a moment, it gives an opportunity for the next ones in line.”
For now, US Soccer fans will get a look at the future USMNT starter. However, don’t worry. Howard will not lose his starting gig solely based on his sabbatical.
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