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2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Second Round

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Series Tickets for CONCACAF Women’s Championship Games in Chicago and D.C. Available Starting Sept. 5

CHICAGO (Aug. 28, 2014) – Tickets for first-round games of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship in Bridgeview, Illinois, and Washington, D.C., go on sale to the public Sept. 5 at 10 a.m. local time. The tournament will directly qualify three teams to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. Due to the expected high demand, purchases at this time are limited to series tickets only. A series ticket includes all the games played at a specific venue.

Fans can purchase series tickets for the Oct. 17-18 doubleheaders at Toyota Park near Chicago and the Oct. 20-21 twin-bills at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., starting at 10 a.m. local venue time through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers in the host cities. [Note: Tickets will not be sold at the RFK Stadium ticket office except on the days of the event.]

Toyota Park, home to Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire, hosts four sides from Group A (including the USA) on Oct. 17 and four teams from Group B on Oct. 18. All eight teams then travel to RFK Stadium, home of D.C. United, where the Group A teams will play their final group games on Oct. 20, while Group B teams close out the first round with games on Oct. 21.

Ticket availability for the semifinals on Oct. 24 and the third-place and championship matches on Oct. 26 at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, will be announced in the near future. The tournament opens at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, with first-round doubleheaders Oct. 15-16. Tickets for the Kansas City series go on sale to the public Aug. 29 at 10 a.m. CT (TICKETS).

The eight countries which will compete in the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship are the United States and Mexico from North America, Guatemala and Costa Rica from Central America, and Caribbean sides Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique and Trinidad & Tobago. The Final Draw to place the teams in two groups of four will take place in Miami on Sept. 5.

The tournament format will see the top two teams in each group advance to Philadelphia for the semifinals on Oct. 24, when the winner of each group will face the runner-up of the opposite group. The third-place and championship games will be held on Oct. 26.

The top three finishers – the semifinal winners and the winner of the third-place match -- will qualify directly for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup June 6-July 5 in Canada, while the fourth-place team enters a playoff with a team from South America for the final World Cup slot.

The U.S. previously hosted a Women's World Cup qualifying tournament in 2006.

Up next for the U.S. WNT is a two-game set against Mexico on Sept. 13 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah (4:30 p.m. MT kickoff; TICKETS), followed by a Sept. 18 rematch at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester, New York (7 p.m. ET; TICKETS). The Sept. 13 game will be live on ussoccer.com and the Sept. 18 game will be live on ESPN2 and WatchESPN. Fans can follow both games on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and @ussoccer_esp.

Klinsmann Names 22-Player Roster for First Match of 2018 FIFA World Cup Cycle

CHICAGO (Aug. 28, 2014) — U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called 22 players into camp for the upcoming friendly against the Czech Republic on Sept. 3 in Prague, the USA’s first game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup cycle. Kickoff for the first meeting between the teams on Czech soil is set for 2:15 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network and UniMas. Fans can also follow on Twitter @ussoccer.

“We look at this as the start of our project towards Russia in 2018, and in this first step we get to look at many of our talented young players based in Europe,” said Klinsmann. “We have some great youngsters coming through the ranks that are starting to break through with their clubs teams and are ready to challenge for spots on the Senior Team, and even most of our World Cup veterans from Brazil on this roster will be coming into the prime of their careers in the next four years, so this is an exciting opportunity.”

The match is the first in the new cycle, and Klinsmann is taking the opportunity to look at young talent. Of the 22 players coming to Prague, 15 are age 24 or younger. There are 11 players with 10 caps or less, and six looking to make their debut for the Senior National Team.

A total of 10 players from the USA’s run to the Round of 16 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup are on the roster. Fabian Johnson started all four matches in Brazil, while Alejandro Bedoya appeared in every game and started three. Hertha Berlin defender John Brooks scored the game-winning goal against Ghana, and 19-year-old Julian Green pulled the U.S. within one goal of Belgium when he scored in the second extra time of the 2-1 defeat.

U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION – Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Cody Cropper (Southampton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (7) : John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Greg Garza (Club Tijuana), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Tim Ream (Bolton)
MIDFIELDERS (7) : Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Brek Shea (Stoke City)
FORWARDS (5) : Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Joe Gyau (Borussia Dortmund II), Jordan Morris (Stanford), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich)


Quote Sheet: U.S. MNT Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann

U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann named the roster for the upcoming game against the Czech Republic on Sept. 3 in Prague. The match marks the first game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup cycle for the United States, and Klinsmann clearly has his eyes on the future. ussoccer.com caught up with Klinsmann to discuss the upcoming game and roster.

On the inclusion of so many younger players on the roster:
Jurgen Klinsmann: “When you start a new cycle, you want to see as many new players and young players breaking in as possible. Obviously you always respect your established players and you always want to give them the space to continue their good work, but you also want to use that opportunity going forward to introduce young blood into the program, give them time on the training field, and you also want to give them time in a real game and prove a point. Show us what you have. Show us your talent, be confident and go for your next level. This is what comes up in the next couple games. It’s about young players coming in and hopefully doing well, with the established ones being part of it as well. We try to mix things up, but we are curious about the next generation of players breaking in. It is also very vital towards Russia 2018 that we already communicate now, four years away, that there is a path for you laid out, but you as a player decide at the end of the day whether you make that path or not. We can explain as many things as we want, but the players have to have that drive, that hunger and that determination to go to the highest level possible. We started that process already. We’re talking to a lot of clubs about a lot of young players and we want to introduce them as quickly as possible in the different teams as well. It’s just exciting to take that kind of energy created in Brazil from the World Cup and translate it to the next cycle and tell young players, ‘Hey, anything is possible as long as you work hard.’”

“It’s an especially good opportunity for us to look at the younger players based in Europe, which we don’t get to do very often because of their schedules. We can’t bring them into the January camp where we get to work with a lot of the up and coming talent, so for players like Joe Gyau, Emerson Hyndman, Rubio Rubin and Bobby Wood, it’s a great chance for them to experience our environment, and for us we get to know these guys better and see what they can do.”

On the decisions that went into putting together the roster:
JK: “The goal is always to get the strongest roster possible. There’s no doubt about it, because you want to win games. Winning games as a National Team program gives you credibility and gives you confidence. So you want to win in Czech Republic but at the same time, you want to experiment. You want to take some risks to introduce young players, players that haven’t proven yet what quality they have. So we always will juggle both things: we want to get results because we want to get the confidence and we want to build more credibility, and we want to get more respect towards all the other nations from around the world. At the same time we’re also responsible for developing players, and players only can develop and get to the next level if you give them a chance to play. So maybe if there’s a 50/50 situation between an established player and a younger player, and we maybe don’t know some of the answers yet about the younger player but we know a lot about that experienced player, I probably will take the younger player because it just makes more sense, and this is what we’re going to try to do and we will also communicate to everyone.”

On bringing in a player like U-23 MNT forward Jordan Morris:
JK: “We have watched Jordan through our Youth National Teams and in the Development Academy for the last couple of years, and he is a very promising player. We saw him during our two weeks at Stanford for the World Cup preparation camp, and also from his play with U-23 team in the Bahamas, and we felt like this was a good opportunity to introduce him to the Senior Team.”

On playing against the Czech Republic:
JK: “Czech Republic is a good benchmark. It’s a good team with players who are playing all over Europe, so it’s going to be a challenge. At the same time, we’re coming in from a strong World Cup and teams are looking at us differently now in Europe than maybe a couple of years ago. They say ‘You know what? They’re not so easy to beat anymore. They’re just growing, they’re getting better.’ It’s just a normal process the U.S. is going through.”

“Do we want to win this game? Absolutely, but we also know the great players that are on the other side; players like [Tomas] Rosicky that plays for a big club and other ones who deserve a lot of respect. But I think that we built more and more confidence, we build more belief that we also go to Europe and say, ‘We are here to give you a game and to beat you’. This is what we’re going to try to do in Prague.”

On what is next for the U.S. MNT at the start of the new cycle:
JK: “Well now being basically past the World Cup in Brazil and a couple months of a break, we’re really getting excited about what’s going to happen over the next four years with the National Team program, the senior level but also all the other levels. It’s huge. It’s a very exciting picture that we have in front of ourselves. We’re looking at the Under-17 World Cup next year, the Under-20 World Cup next year, we’re looking at the Olympic Team cycle that we started to build toward Rio de Janeiro in 2016, we’re looking at the Gold Cup that hopefully qualifies us for the Confederations Cup 2017 in Russia. Two years from now, and the time will go so fast, we have a Copa America in the United States, which is amazing. It’s almost like having a World Cup here in this country with Brazil, with Argentina, with Chile, Uruguay; all these great South American nations which is a huge benchmark for us.

On the European transfer window closing after the seasons begin:
JK: “It’s not good. I never understood why this transfer window ends Aug. 31 instead of July 31, because all the big clubs in Europe have made up their mind if they want a player or not. They should never drag this topic into the existing season. In Europe they’re playing already. The Premier League started, the Bundesliga starts now and Spain starts now. They should have transfers already done by July 31, but unfortunately they keep that window open until Aug. 31. Some of our players fall into that category where they haven’t figured out yet what their future will be club-wise, and that’s not good for us.”

Klinsmann Gives Youth Opportunity for U.S. MNT Trip to Czech Republic

In the first international match of the new cycle for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is bringing together a roster that includes several newcomers to the mix to look forward to the next cycle.

The 22-player roster for the Sept. 3 game against the Czech Republic includes five players in search of their first cap in goalkeeper Cody Cropper, defender Greg Garza, midfielder Emerson Hyndman and forwards Joe Gyau and Rubio Rubin.

“It’s an especially good opportunity for us to look at the younger players based in Europe, which we don’t get to do very often because of their schedules,” Klinsmann said. “We can’t bring them into the January camp where we get to work with a lot of the up-and-coming talent, so for players like Joe Gyau, Emerson Hyndman, Rubio Rubin and Bobby Wood, it’s a great chance for them to experience our environment.”

While it remains to be seen as to whether they will get game time, the experience of taking part in the USA’s camp in Prague will bode well for them as they make their case in front of the U.S. MNT coaching staff.

“When you start a new cycle, you want to see as many new players, young players, breaking into the cycle as possible,” Klinsmann said. “Obviously you always respect your established players and you will always give them the space to continue their good work, but also you want to use that opportunity going forward to introduce young blood into the program and give them time on the training field, and in the real games and prove a point. Show us what you have. Show us your talent and be confident and go for your next level. This is what comes up now in the next couple of games, it’s about young players coming in and hopefully doing well.”

Landon Donovan to Make Final Appearance for U.S. MNT on Oct. 10 in East Hartford

CHICAGO (Aug. 26, 2014) – After a 15-year international career in which he became the most accomplished player in team history, U.S. Men’s National Team forward Landon Donovan (@landondonovan) will make his final appearance for the United States when the team plays against Ecuador on Oct. 10 in East Hartford, Connecticut.

Kickoff at Rentschler Field is set for 7 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN, WatchESPN, UniMas and ESPN Deportes Radio. Fans can also follow along on Twitter @ussoccer.

“For 15 years, Landon has thrilled us with his amazing abilities on the field and impressed us with his gracious approach off the field,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati (@sunilgulati). “We are looking forward to celebrating his legacy during our next home National Team match and allowing fans the opportunity to thank him for all the memories he’s provided over the years.”

Donovan announced in August that he would retire from soccer at the end of the Major League Soccer season. He holds several records for the National Team, including most goals (57) and assists (58).

"Playing for the U.S. National Team has been a huge part of my career and I'm ecstatic to have the opportunity to play for my country one last time,” said Donovan. “I'm so grateful to all the fans that have supported me and this game will give me the chance to say thank you to all of them. I look forward to a great evening and I'm thankful to U.S. Soccer for making this happen."

Landon Donovan

Tickets are on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-877-522-8499 (8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET only) and at the XL Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 12-5 p.m.). [Note: Tickets are not sold at Rentschler Field except on the day of the event.]

Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a custom-made official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available exclusively through ussoccer.com.

The four-time U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year was an inaugural member of the U-17 Residency Program in 1999. He began his Senior Team career on Oct. 25, 2000, against Mexico, scoring in the 2-0 win and setting the tone for a remarkable tenure. In an international career chock full of records and highlights, Donovan added to the most iconic moments in U.S sports history when he scored the game-winner against Algeria in the 2010 FIFA World Cup that sent the U.S. into the knockout phase and set off frenzied celebrations across the country.

Donovan's next and final appearance for the U.S. MNT will be the 157th of his illustrious career.

Landon Donovan

Series Tickets for CONCACAF Women’s Championship in K.C. Available Starting Aug. 29

CHICAGO (Aug. 25, 2014) – Tickets for first-round games in Kansas City for the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, the tournament that will directly qualify three teams to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, go on sale to the public Friday, Aug. 29, at 10 a.m. CT. Due to the expected high demand, purchases are limited to series tickets only. A series ticket includes all the games played at the venue.

Fans can purchase series tickets for the Oct. 15-16 games at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers in the Kansas City area (including many Hen House Markets). [Note: Tickets will not be sold at the Sporting Park ticket office.]

Sporting Park, home to Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City, hosts doubleheader events on consecutive days. Four sides from Group A (including the USA in the featured game) open the competition Oct. 15, followed by the four Group B squads each playing their first match Oct. 16. The draw to determine the exact matchups will be held Sept. 5 in Miami.

Details regarding series tickets for the remaining three tournament venues (Chicago, Washington and Philadelphia) will be announced in the near future.

The following eight countries are competing in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship: the United States and Mexico from North America, Guatemala and Costa Rica from Central America, and four countries from the Caribbean in Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique and Trinidad & Tobago.

Three teams from the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship will directly qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup from June 6-July 5 in Canada. After completing round-robin play at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois (Oct. 17-18), and at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. (Oct. 20-21), the top two teams from each group advance to Philadelphia for the semifinals on Oct. 24, followed by the third-place and championship games on Oct. 26. The tournament’s top three teams go to the FIFA Women’s World Cup, while the fourth-place team enters a playoff with a team from South America for the final World Cup slot.

The U.S. previously hosted a Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament in 2006.

Up next for the U.S. WNT is a two-game set against Mexico on Sept. 13 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah (4:30 p.m. MT kickoff; TICKETS), followed by a Sept. 18 rematch at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, New York (7 p.m. ET; TICKETS). The Sept. 18 game will be live on ESPN2 and WatchESPN. Fans can follow both games on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and @ussoccer_esp.

Academy Alumni: Hamid Earns Sixth Shutout, D.C. Moves into First in East

D.C. United Academy product Bill Hamid made three saves and D.C. earned a 3-0 road victory Saturday against Sporting Kansas City to move into first place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference.

Hamid earned his sixth clean sheet and 10th victory this season. The game marked the first to feature two homegrown players starting in goal – Hamid and Sporting Kansas City’s Jon Kempin.

D.C. United improves to 13-7-4 (43 points) with a one-point lead over Sporting (12-7-6, 42 points).

Wenger Brace Paces Union Past San Jose: PA Classics product and Philadelphia Union midfielder Andrew Wenger scored two goals to lead the Union to a 4-2 victory against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday. With the win, the Union tightened up the Eastern Conference Playoff race. The New York Red Bulls currently are latching onto the fifth postseason slot if the season ended at this stage with 31 points, while the New England Revolution and Union are just outside the table with 30 points apiece.

Hairston Tallies First Goal: Colorado Rapids midfielder Marlon Hairston, formerly of IMG Academy, scored his first MLS goal during the Rapids’ 4-3 loss to the LA Galaxy last Wednesday, Aug. 20. So far during his rookie season, Hairston has 16 caps, six starts, one goal and one assist in 649 minutes of play.

U-18 MNT Wins Title at International Tournament of Vaclav Jezek

ZLIN, Czech Republic (Aug. 23, 2014) – The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team defeated Ukraine 1-0 in the championship match of the 21st International Tournament of Václav Ježek.

Mukwelle Akale scored the game’s only goal in the 47th minute off of a Cameron Lindley assist. Akale was named the tournament’s top player. Earlier this year, the Minnesota Thunder Academy product and former U.S. U-17 Residency midfielder was named the MVP of the 2014 Copa del Atlantico.

The USA’s Jonathan Klinsmann was named the event’s best goalkeeper for earning a clean sheet and coming up with five saves in the final. He also had three saves during the U-18 MNT’s group-opening 3-1 victory against Hungary on Aug. 20.

U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team

-U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team Match Report-

Match: U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team vs. Ukraine
Date: Aug. 23, 2014
Competition: 21st International Youth Tournament of Václav Ježek
Venue: Zlin, Czech Republic
Kickoff: 2 p.m. CEST
Weather: 70 degrees

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA                              0 1 1
UKR                             0 0 0

USA – Mukwelle Akale (Cameron Lindley)     47th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Jonathan Klinsmann; 4-Justen Glad, 5-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 15-Mauricio Pineda, 3-Pablo Pelaez, 20-Jackson Yueill (11-Sebastian Saucedo, 62), 6-Ben Swanson, 10-Mukwelle Akale (capt.) (14-Collin Fernandez, 89), 8-Cameron Lindley, 13-Victor Mansaray (9-Coy Craft, 46), 18-Sebastian Elney (19-Haji Wright, 76)
Subs Not Used: 2-Kyle Duncan, 7-Jorge Ruiz, 16-Malcolm Jones, 17-Sean Wilson, 22-JT Marcinkowski
Head Coach: Javier Perez

UKR: 1-Dmytro Fastov; 18-Oleksandr Tymchyk, 22-Dmytro Shevchenko, 15-Sergiy Chobotenko, 3-Vasyl Kravets, 19-Yaroslav Fursov, 7-Rostyslav Taranukha (20-Volodymyr Grachov, 72), 8-Volodymyr Shepeliev (14-Oleksiy Zinkevych, 46), 21-Bogdan Mykhaylichenko, 17-Oleksii Gutsuliak (10-Artur Avagimin, 62), 9-Olekxiv Shchebetun
Subs Not Used: 4-Roman Lebed, 11-Oleksandr Pikhalonok, 12-Andril Marchuk, 16-Dmitro Sautin
Head Coach: Oleg Kuznetsov

Stats Summary: USA / UKR
Shots: 11 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 5 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 11
Fouls: 11 / 21
Offside: 2 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Mauricio Pineda (caution)         39th minute
USA – Coy Craft (caution)                     49
UKR – Oleksiy Zinkevych (caution)      52
USA – Cameron Lindley (caution)        53
UKR – Yaroslav Fursov (caution)         58
UKR – Dmytro Shevchenko (caution)  69

Officials:
Referee: Franek Pavel
Assistant Referee: Vlasjuk Pavel
Assistant Referee: Kotik Radek
Fourth Official: N/A

Coy Craft and Cameron Lindley

U.S. MNT Goalkeeper Tim Howard Takes Break from International Soccer

CHICAGO (Aug. 21, 2014) – Three-time FIFA World Cup veteran Tim Howard has asked to take a break from duties with the U.S. Men’s National Team until next fall, and after discussions with U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann the Everton goalkeeper will not be considered for selection to the U.S. roster until September of 2015.

Howard is not retiring from international play. The decision is driven mainly by the desire 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.”

Klinsmann and Howard had extensive conversations prior to the decision, and the U.S. coach is supportive of the approach.

“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.”

Howard will miss as many as eight friendly matches as well as the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, giving Klinsmann the chance to see other goalkeepers in action. He will continue in his starting role for Everton of the English Premier League, which is now in the second week of the 2014-15 season that runs through May.

Howard has amassed 104 caps and is the USA’s all-time leader for goalkeepers in appearances and wins (55). The 35-year-old has played every minute for the United States in the last two FIFA World Cups. In Brazil this past summer, he twice earned Budweiser Man of the Match honors, including the 2-2 draw against Portugal and the Round of 16 game against Belgium in which he posted a World Cup-record 15 saves.

“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.”

The U.S. Men’s National Team will travel to face the Czech Republic on Sept. 3 in Prague, marking the first match for the United States following the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The match will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network and UniMas. Fans can also follow on Twitter @ussoccer.

Tim Howard

Q&A with U.S. MNT Goalkeeper Tim Howard

U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard said Thursday that he will be taking a break from MNT duties to spend additional time with his family. After a lengthy conversation with USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Howard vows to make himself available for selection starting in the fall of 2015.

ussoccer.com caught up with the star goalkeeper about this decision.

What prompted you to make this decision to take a year off from international duty?
Tim Howard: “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. 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.”

ussoccer.com: How do you feel physically at this stage of your career?
TH: “Physically and mentally I feel as strong as ever. I’m also 35 years old and it’s four years before the next World Cup. If I want to be able to get to the next World Cup, I also have to be smart about managing my body. I will get a bit of extra time off during the international windows, and this will also be the first real summer break that I have had in 12 years.”

ussoccer.com: Do you want to play in another World Cup?
TH: “Right now my heart, mind and body all say yes, but it’s difficult to predict the situation in four years. I will always be upfront about my intentions, and of course the manager has to select you. I am fully committed to the cause, and it’s important to me that my teammates understand that.”

Have you been assured the No. 1 spot when you return?
TH: “Absolutely not. Jurgen has always been upfront with all the players in saying you have to earn your place, which is something I agree with. Every player makes their own choices for their own reasons. In my case, this is a decision for my family. For me, it’s important that my teammates and my coaches have a clear understanding of where I’m coming from. I hope by now they know what I am about. I’ve had honest conversations with Jurgen and Roberto Martinez, and I appreciate their understanding. It doesn’t change the fact that I have to earn my spot, and I look forward to doing that.”

Results

Date Matchup Result Venue Attendance Goal Scorers
June 15, 2008 MNT vs Barbados 8-0 W The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif. 11,476 Dempsey (2), Bradley, Ching (2), Donovan, Own Goal, Johnson
June 22, 2008 MNT vs Barbados 1-0 W Kensington Oval; Bridgetown, Barbados 2,000 Lewis
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