United States international goalkeeper Tim Howard is heading back to Major League Soccer after spending 13 years playing in the English Premier League.
The Colorado Rapids have signed Howard on a three-year contract as one of their designated players according to ESPN. He will meet up with his new teammates in July, after the end of the current Premier League campaign from current club Everton. Although he still had two years left on his Everton contract, they have agreed to allow him to leave for a fee of around $600,000. Although no details have been given on Howard’s Rapids contract, the three years will take him past his 40th birthday, and as a designated player, only a fraction of his wages will come out of the club’s allowed wage budget.
Colorado are keen to add to their only major trophy, the 2010 MLS Cup, and signing a player of Tim Howard’s calibre and reputation is sure to excite the fans, who will remember the heroics that he performed during the 2014 World Cup. In the Round of 16 match against Belgium, Howard made a record 15 saves, although he couldn’t prevent the USA from being knocked out of the competition 2-1 after extra time.
Since making his debut for the US national team in 2002, Howard has become a familiar face to fans of soccer around the globe, amassing an amazing 106 international caps, making him the most-capped American goalkeeper of all time. He is one of four current internationals to have made over 100 appearances for Team USA, and he has previously stated his desire to continue playing for the national side until the 2018 World Cup.
Tim Howard moved to English football giants Manchester United in a $4 million deal in 2003 after a five-year spell with MLS team Metro All Stars (now known as New York Red Bulls), and immediately replaced French World Cup-winning goalkeeper Fabian Barthez as United’s number one. Howard won the Community Shield in his first competitive game for United, saving the final penalty as United beat Arsenal on penalties. At the end of his first season he played in the FA Cup final, becoming only the second American to do so, and the first since Julian Sturgis played for Wanderers in the 1873 FA Cup final. Howard was named in the Premier League Best XI at the end of the season. However, he failed to command a regular first team place, and he left Manchester United in 2006, having made 77 appearances in all competitions over three years.
Howard initially joined Everton on loan, but the deal was made permanent in 2007. In ten seasons playing for the Toffees, Howard has so far made 412 appearances. While he was unable to add to his medal haul during his time with Everton, he did become only the fourth goalkeeper in the Premier League to score a goal when he scored from his own penalty area against the Bolton Wanderers in the 2011/12 season.
“It was cruel. You saw the back fours and the keepers not being able to believe balls all night, and at the back one wrong step and it can be a nightmare. For our goal I was disappointed from a goalkeepers’ union standpoint. You never want to see that happen. It’s not nice, it’s embarrassing, so I felt for Adam but you have to move on from it.”
He is still a huge fan favourite at Everton, and he will continue as an official ambassador for the Everton football club in the United States when he leaves to join the Colorado Rapids.
Tim Howard’s arrival on July 8 will be a huge lift to everybody at the Colorado Rapids, who hope to still be in contention for a divisional title. Currently they are 1-1 after two rounds. The Rapids are playing D.C. United this evening.
[photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images]