A few weeks ago US National Team (USMNT) goalkeeper Tim Howard signed a two-year contract extension with Everton FC. Howard has been with Everton since 2006 — if you count his loan period — and I’m sure Everton wouldn’t mind having him around for even longer. He is definitely a fantastic goalkeeper and one of the US’s proudest exports. Howard turned 35 this year, which is close to ‘old’ in soccer terms, and after putting his 6’3 body through many years of goalkeeping, he’s decided to give his career an expiration date. Howard announced he would retire after his contract with Everton ends in 2018.
This raises the question of whether this summer will be his last World Cup. He has been the starting goalkeeper for the USMNT for quite some time, and he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. I really hate to see him go, but I know the US is in great hands with Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando and Sean Johnson. Any of the three would do a good job of guarding the net, but of course need to work harder to reach Howard’s level.
So, if Howard retires in 2018, he may or may not be playing his last World Cup this summer. If the USMNT does not qualify for the 2018 World Cup, then Brazil will definitely be his swan song. However, if it does qualify, it comes down to whether he wants to play, and if his age doesn’t hinder him from being the starting goalkeeper. His fate is unknown, but it’s truly up to him to decide. It’s possible that he decided to retire in 2018, knowing he has a shot at just one more World Cup.
Regardless of whether he joins his teammates in Russia in 2018, I hope the USMNT goes far this summer, and Tim Howard has another thing to be proud of towards the end of his career.