Legendary American goalkeeper Tim Howard announced that he is hanging up his gloves at the conclusion of the 2019 MLS season. The 39-year-old revealed the decision on his personal Twitter account:
I’m greatly looking forward to kicking off the 2019 MLS season, as it will be my LAST. There will be plenty of time for sentiment later. For now, I am going to enjoy every minute. And as I’ve always done, compete hard and help lead the Rapids with the sole purpose of winning. pic.twitter.com/QWuCcy7gW2— Tim Howard (@TimHowardGK) January 22, 2019
“It’s been one heck of a ride,” Howard said on Tuesday. “This is something that’s been on my radar for a number of years now, probably since I signed with Colorado. I knew that the length of the contract would take me to being 40, and it seemed like the right time. I’ve always had my sights set on this, and there are other things I want to do.”
Howard began his career with the minor league North Jersey Imperials before quickly joining the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now New York Red Bulls) in 1998. His standout play resulted in a $4 million transfer to Manchester United, with whom he won the FA Cup, the League Cup, and the Community Shield and was named the Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year in 2004. In 2006, he joined Everton (first on loan and eventually on a permanent deal), where he would stay for the next decade, making 414 appearances. Howard returned to MLS in 2016, joining the Colorado Rapids as a Designated Player.
The New Jersey native made his national team debut in 2002, and earned 121 caps, with the final one coming in 2017 (in an infamous October match against Trinidad and Tobago). He was the first-choice goalkeeper at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. In the latter, his set a tournament record for most saves in a match with 15 in the Round of 16 loss to Belgium. He retired with the USMNT records for wins (55) and appearances (104) and the second-most shutouts.
In addition to his play on the field, Howard was vocal about his struggles with Tourette’s syndome. Despite harsh treatment from the press and fans, he persevered and was able to carve out an incredibly successful career. “One of the biggest things I can do for [awareness] is be in the public eye,” he told Neurology Now.
Now that Howard is retired, he’ll focus on his ownership of USL club Memphis 901 FC and English lower league side Dagenham & Redbridge. While he is convinced that his future will not involve coaching, he admits that he’ll join the occasional television broadcast for commentary.
Tim Howard will be remembered as one of the best players in American soccer history, who competed at the highest levels and didn’t not disappear in the most intense moments. For a country that is known for producing talented goalkeepers, it speaks to his incredible talent that he will likely be considered the best of the bunch.