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U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

August 21, 2014
TAKING A BREAK
Tim Howard to take some time off from U.S. National Team


Tim Howard won't be back with the U.S. men's national side until September 2015.
Tim Howard won't be back with the U.S. men's national side until September 2015.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Tim Howard is hanging up his gloves -- for the time being in international soccer.

The Everton goalkeeper said Thursday that he will take a break from his duties with the U.S. men's national team until next fall.

He discussed the situation with U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and he will not be considered for selection to the U.S. roster until September 2015.

In a press release, U.S. Soccer said that the 35-year-old Howard was not retiring from international play. The decision was driven mainly by the desire to spend more time with his family, the release said.

"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," Howard said in a statement. "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."

Klinsmann, who supports the break, had extensive conversations with Howard prior to the decision.

"We had a very good and productive conversation," he said in a statement. "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 will miss as many as eight friendly matches as well as the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, giving Klinsmann the chance to see other goalkeepers in game situations. He will continue in his starting role for Everton in the English Premier League, which is in the second week of the 2014-15 season that runs through May.

Howard has earned 104 caps and is the USA's all-time goalkeeper leader in appearances and wins (55). He has played every minute for the USA in the last two World Cups and was a member of the 2006 team as the third keeper. In Brazil this past summer, he twice earned man of the match honors, including the 2-2 draw against Portugal and the Round of 16 game against Belgium in which he recorded 15 saves.

"This gives us a huge opportunity to see Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando going forward and fighting for the No. 1 spot," Klinsmann said. "We have young talented goalkeepers with Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid, who have been brought along the last couple years, so this may give them a chance here and there to get some game time. Always when somebody steps aside for a moment, it gives an opportunity for the next ones in line."

The USA will travel to face the Czech Republic in Prague on Sept. 3, the first match for the Americans following the World Cup. The match will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network and UniMas.




   
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