Tim Howard will be at Everton until 2018. The United States goalkeeper signed a contract extension with the club, much to the delight of the Toffees, who have soared to Champions League contention in part due to Howard's great season.
A year ago, few would have bet on Howard staying at Everton for much longer. He was in the midst of one of his worst seasons and hadn't been at his best in almost 16 months. Then the Toffees hired Roberto Martinez, a manager who likes his goalkeepers to be adept with the ball at his feet, something Howard is not, and it only seemed like a matter of time before the American would have to find a new home.
But everything changed this season.
Howard has been spectacular for the Toffees. He's still not great with the ball and has had issues coming off his line at times, as per usual, but everything else has been exceptional. In fact, Howard may be playing better than he has in years.
A well-regarded shot stopper, Howard has made a slew of brilliant saves for the Toffees. He's also been more assured coming out to collect crosses and the Toffees' defense has been extremely well organized, something that Howard plays a role in. Not coincidentally, Everton are having their best season since they last qualified for the Champions League in 2004-05.
With the season winding down, Everton currently sit fifth in the Premier League, just one point behind Arsenal for the final Champions League place. Come next season, Howard may very well be playing in the world's biggest club competition and even if he's not, Martinez seems to have the Toffees in a position to chase the top four again and again.
Meanwhile, Howard's resurgence means the U.S. will go to Brazil with an in-form goalkeeper. It's all smiles in the States, and the same is true at Goodison Park now. Howard's going to be a Toffee for four more years.