In a much anticipated move, MLS side Colorado Rapids have announced that they have signed US goalkeeper Tim Howard from English Premier League side Everton. The player himself announced his return with a quirky 15 second Claymation video by Uninterrupted. The move ends Howard’s thirteen-year stay in England where he has racked up 397 appearances so far, first with Manchester United and now with Everton where he has become a fan favourite. Despite being 37 years old, Howard still has the ability to compete at the highest level but having lost his starting spot in the Everton goal to Spaniard Joel Robles, the American shot stopper has decided that it is time to return home. The move to join Colorado was completed late last month but the club decided to wait to announce their new acquisition to allow the player and Everton to focus on several crunch games in the English league and cup competitions. Howard signs a three and a half year deal with the club to become one of their designated players and joins for a fee of just over $600,000 in the summer.
The move signals Howard’s return to the league where it all began just under 20 years ago. As a native of North Brunswick, it made sense for Howard to join the New York/New Jersey Metrostars (now New York Red Bulls) as a 18 year old. However few expected that he would have the impact that he did. In his debut game ironically against Colorado, Howard gave a dazzling performance making five crucial saves as the Metrostars ran out 4-1 victors. That performance set Howard up for success and he did not disappoint, establishing himself as a important part of the Metrostars team over the next five years. With his growing reputation came the early accolades of his career, winning MLS goalkeeper of the year in 2001 and representing his country at under 20 and Under 23 level. It wouldn’t be long before Howard started to gain attention from abroad and when Manchester United came calling in 2003, Howard knew that his life was about to change massively.
Signed as a direct replacement for the outgoing French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez in a $4m deal, Howard was dropped firmly into the deep end at one of the world’s biggest clubs. Under the management of the legendary figure of Sir Alex Ferguson, Howard would excel in his opening season winning the FA cup (becoming in the process only the second American to do so). However his second season would be more problematic with Howard losing confidence then his place to Roy Carroll. He would eventually regain it but by then the seed of doubt had been planted firmly in Ferguson’s mind. After United signing Edwin van der Sar from Fulham, Howard was sold to Everton where he has made a majority of his PL appearances during a ten year stint with the Liverpool club. Throughout that time, Howard consistently showed the world exactly how good a shot stopper he is helping the club to establish its self as a permanent fixture in the top half of the league table. He would also play a starring role for the United States, earning over 100 caps with stand out performances at the 2010 and 2014 World Cup including a man of the match performance against Portugal in the latter which spawned a million memes and landed him a meeting with the US president.
Howard spoke to ESPN Sport center shortly after the announcement, stating that the timing was right for the move and that he will always remember his time in England fondly. Howard returns at a time when Colorado are undergoing a rebuilding exercise after several disappointing campaigns. The signing of Howard adds experience to the side managed by former US international colleague Pablo Mastroeni. The new coach will be hoping that Howard can lend his support both on and off the field potentially paving the way for Howard to move into coaching once he hangs up his boots.
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