Tim Howard, veteran U.S. MNT goalkeeper, will take a year off from international soccer duties to spend more time with his children and concentrate on his professional career with Everton in England.
After discussions with U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann the Everton goalkeeper will not be available for selection until September of 2015. Howard is not retiring from international play.
“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.”
Howard has 100 international caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team, including three World Cups. In his last game in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, he had 16 saves in a 2-1 second round loss to Belgium. That was a World Cup single game saves record.
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’s sabbatical will open opportunities for Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando and other goalkeepers in the U.S. player pool. Next up for the U.S. team is a friendly on Sept. 3 against the Czech Republic in Prague.