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.”
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.”
- Q&A with U.S. MNT Goalkeeper Tim Howard
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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.
KROMERIZ, Czech Republic (Aug. 21, 2014) – The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team beat the Czech Republic 3-2 to take the top spot in Group A and advance to the 21st International Tournament of Vaclav Jezek final against Ukraine on Saturday, Aug. 23.
After a scoreless first half, the U.S. got its first goal just two minutes after halftime. Sebastian Saucedo finished a Collin Fernandez assist in the 47th minute to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.
The tandem teamed up again but switched roles for a second goal just four minutes later. Fernandez doubled the U.S. lead to 2-0 in the 51st minute with Saucedo picking up the assist.
A U.S. handball in the box breathed life into the Czech Republic attack, as Denis Lanka converted the penalty kick to cut the deficit to one goal in the 72nd minute. Haji Wright restored the two-goal advantage for the U.S. in the 78th minute, a goal that would prove to be a game-winner.
The Czech Republic put pressure on the U.S. back line and scored in the second minute of second-half stoppage time but failed to net an equalizer before the final whistle, leaving the result at 3-2 in favor of the U.S.
The U-18s finish group play with a 2-0-0 record and six points. The U.S. opened the tournament with a 3-1 win against Hungary on Aug. 20.
Along with Saturday’s final, the tournament’s two second-place teams from group play square off in the third-place match and the groups’ third-place teams will play in the fifth-place match. All three games will take place on Aug. 23.
More information from Thursday’s USA-Czech Republic match will be available shortly on ussoccer.com.
U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis
Overall thoughts on the match:
“We knew Switzerland was going to be a good challenge. We played good, uptempo soccer. We got a lot of players in tonight. Some really good spurts and we’ve been focusing on a few things. We haven’t had much time together so overall I was very pleased with the effort and with the result.”
On areas of focus for this game:
“We worked a little bit, talking about our build up and I think we’ve got to get more out of our outside backs going forward. I think we have to get a little bit more connection centrally between our three. But we tried some different things tonight.”
On the new formation, specifically for Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe:
“I wanted Holiday to control the rhythm so I moved her deeper into the midfield. We took Holiday out of the ten. I wanted to see Megan in there because she’s so good running at players. Her final pass is so good. She’s got a shot and she’s dangerous in there.”
On Crystal Dunn’s contribution on the back line and playing on the left side”
“She doesn’t usually play on the left side. I was actually really pleased. Defensively, she’s coming back in. This is her first time back in with me. I actually thought she did a solid job. She’s got to get her timing of her releasing down and how to play out a little bit better. I was pleased. Pleased with her positioning overall.”
On the depth of the WNT:
“Going into our camp for World Cup Qualifiers, we’ll have 26 solid players competing for a spot. I was pleased to see different players come in tonight and start to emerge. I’m really excited about it.”
On Christie Rampone’s role:
"She’s been phenomenal. She’s been hurt, a little banged up and her confidence was a little bit low. She has leadership, the ability to control the line and still her pace, she’s kind of a freak of nature. She’s been fantastic for us. Calms the team, good leader on and off the field. I’m really excited and hope she can make this journey with us. I believe she can.
On Abby Wambach’s return from injury:
“Abby’s coming along and that’s why I think it was so important for her to get a goal tonight. She’s worked very, very hard physically and on the technical side of her game to get up to speed fairly quickly. By our next camp, I think she’ll be 100 percent.”
On Alex Morgan’s return after recovering from injury:
“Alex has found her form. She had a great game the other night. She looks really sharp. That’s why she got the start, because she’s been playing very well and she looked good in camp.”
U.S. WNT goalkeeper Hope Solo
On not breaking the shutout record:
“For me, the record is going to come when it comes. I’m not going to chase it. It’s always disappointing to get scored on if it’s a game with a record-breaking opportunity or not. Of course I’d like to get the record so I can move on and focus on other things, but it’s not the end-all-be-all for me to have it happen here in Cary or against Mexico in the next two games, or whenever it happens.”
U.S. WNT midfielder Megan Rapinoe
On her goal in the third minute:
“I think it popped out wide to Sydney and I was just filling in the top of the box. I took a quick touch and hit it. I think it took a little bit of a deflection going in, but it was on frame at least, so count it.”
On playing in a different formation:
“It is different. It is definitely different than playing the wing. The responsibilities are just different. I have the responsibility to just find the space. It puts a little bit more onus on my to find that space.”
U.S. WNT defender Crystal Dunn
On her contribution to the team:
“I did my best to try and push up when I could. I think Switzerland did a good job of shutting that space down. I think my role on this team is to get the ball and possess it and that’s what I tried to do tonight.”
On head coach Jill Ellis’ decision to move her from right back to left back:
“I’m just happy she wanted me on the field. At the end of the day, she could tell me Hope is taking a break and I’m playing keeper and I’d be happy about that. It was great to be out there regardless of what side I’m on. “
On the back line taking shape:
“It’s going to be big. I think over the past two years we’ve been switching up a lot. I think it’s important to get a set back four. That’s what I’m competing for: to try and win a spot on this team.”
U.S. WNT midfielder Carli Lloyd
On her initial thoughts of the game:
“I thought it was a good result for us. Even though it was a short trip for us, the last couple days we’ve been working on some things. I thought we really started to find the momentum. The second half was fun. We were pinging it around, having some fun, finding some space. Overall, a good result, some good goals, some good things. Obviously there are some things we can tidy up on and work on, but this is a good start for where we want to be.”
On how the team can improve going forward:
“Just having that mindset of getting into our defensive shape a little bit quicker. A little bit more diligent with that. As long as we get back into our shape, then we can take a little bit of time. As long as we’re compact, we won’t give teams a lot of time and space to play. The Swiss were a good, quality side. They had some good attacking abilities. If you give them good time and space, they’re going to ping balls around you. Overall it was a good result.”
On the new formation with Megan Rapinoe, Lauren Holiday and Abby Wambach:
“As long as we can fine tune our shape in the middle, and we started to find that in the second half, Holiday and I started to connect with Rapinoe in there and then Press and when Abby came in. We started to really find the rhythm, find the space and picking off those pockets. We’ve got to keep building off of that.”
U.S. WNT forward Christen Press
On moving forward with a new formation:
“I was higher up the field and there were more counterattacks, so that’s good. I’m just trying to find my way on this team, find my role and see what I can do to help the team win.”
On her goal to give the U.S. a 3-1 lead:
“I think the goal was a corner kick that was headed out. I got on the second ball, and it was a chest and shoulder and volley, I think before it bounced. It was one of those where you strike through the ball, a little bit on one side and it bent into the upper part of the net.”
On having the Stanford women’s soccer team in attendance:
“It’s always great to have your alma mater there. I learned so much from Stanford and I’m glad they could be at the game.”
On the atmosphere and fans:
“I think that the environment tonight was phenomenal. When Abby walked in to the locker room she said, ‘that’s how it should feel going to play a soccer game.’ We all had the chills, with the girls outside screaming and supporting us and all the tailgaters. It’s phenomenal for us to see. It’s such a motivation. We’re so, so blessed to have this support going into our World Cup Qualifiers.”